WNBA to play a preseason game in Canada in 2023

September 12, 2022
The WNBA will make a pit stop in Canada next year. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced yesterday that the league will play a preseason game in the country in 2023, teasing a wide-ranging growth strategy for the W. Break out the zhampagne.
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SOURCE: ETHAN MILLER/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: ETHAN MILLER/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: The WNBA will make a pit stop in Canada next year. Commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced yesterday that the league will play a preseason game in the country in 2023, teasing a wide-ranging growth strategy for the W. Break out the zhampagne.

The details: Time and location remain TBA for the W’s first international trip since 2011. The commissioner described Canada as a suitable destination because of its proximity to the U.S., but said the league would “love” to host games in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, specifically.

The expansion: Engelbert didn’t comment on the likelihood of Canada being awarded an expansion team, a process that’s expected to wrap up soon. Toronto, much to Drake’s delight, is reportedly emerging as a top contender — an exec at New Media Sports & Entertainment said in June that it has suitable investors and facilities in place.

  • The group has a head start, too. It was reportedly approached by an unknown franchise’s former owners in 2019 to acquire and relocate the team. However, the $3.5 million bid was rejected as the W wanted to keep the team in the local market.

Zooming out: This cross-border trip will serve as an indicator of Canada’s appetite for women’s hoops while also allowing the W to test its global approach. International events are a necessary growth strategy in a globalized landscape, and are currently reaping rewards for the NFL and the NBA.

  • And the league may already have a worldwide fanbase. Its All-Star campaign on Twitter was a global hit — 65% of tweets using #MoreThanIncredible were in languages other than English. Cheers to that.
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