The Golden State Warriors ownership might be bringing a WNBA franchise to the Bay, according to The Athletic.
As of now, no deal is concrete, several details still have to be worked out. The plan would be for the franchise to play its games at the Chase Center and be headquartered at the Warriors practice facility in Oakland.
Warriors Owner Joe Lacob has long been a fan of American women’s basketball. You could call him a pioneer. He helped get the women’s basketball in America. He was integral in the establishment of the American Basketball League, which started play in the fall of 1996. Lacob was owner of the San Jose Lasers, led by Stanford star Jennifer Azzi and Sheri Sam.
The Women’s National Basketball Association was created in June of 1997. The ABL folded a year later, which was the last time a women’s professional basketball team played in the Bay Area.
Just like with the NBA, the WNBA has also expressed an interest in expansion. When that happens, the Golden State Warriors ownership wants to bring a WNBA franchise to the bay. It sounds like it could happen soon.
Currently, the WNBA only has 12 teams and they desperately need more. Commissioner Cathy Englebert has stated that an expansion is the focus on numerous occasions.
“Obviously, we’re working very hard on expansion,” Engelbert told reporters. “This is really something I think we need to do, not just because of opening up potentially 12 to 24 roster spots, but also with a league that’s the longest-tenured women’s professional league in the country by double any other, we need more than 12 teams.”
Engelbert would like to add two teams by 2025.
Once a deal is reached, it would still have to be accepted by the WNBA Board of Governors. Though, considering the amount of success that Golden State has had, that won’t be an issue. The Warriors continue to be one of the highest revenue-generating and respected sports franchises across the globe. The organization is estimated to be worth more than $7 Billion. Lacob has wanted a WNBA team for a while now. Timing has been the biggest question.
“The Warriors released a statement Tuesday night in response to The Athletic’s reporting: “We have had productive conversations with the WNBA and look forward to the possibility of being a part of the league’s expansion plans. However, it would be premature to assume any potential agreement has been finalized.”
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