Toronto Awarded WNBA Franchise, Will Launch in 2026

Cathy Engelbert, Commissioner of the WNBA, lights the Empire State Building in Celebration of the WNBA Draft in April 2024
Cathy Engelbert, Commissioner of the WNBA, lights the Empire State Building in Celebration of the WNBA Draft in April 2024. Photo by Kristin Callahan/Shutterstock (14434839d)

The WNBA is expanding to Canada. According to multiple reports, the city of Toronto has been awarded a new WNBA franchise, which is set to make its debut in 2026.

The owner of the new franchise will be billionaire Larry Tanenbaum and his Kilmer Sports Inc. company. Tanenbaum is a minority owner of the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs and the NBA’s Toronto Raptors.

Toronto’s WNBA team will reportedly play its game at Coca-Cola Coliseum, which features 8,000 seats and is home to AHL team Toronto Marlies.

The official announcement for Toronto’s WNBA franchise is expected to come later in May. Currently, the WNBA is neither denying nor confirming the news.

“We continue to engage in productive conversations with interested ownership groups in a number of markets and the granting of any expansion teams requires a vote of the WNBA and NBA Board of Governors,” the league told ESPN in a statement.

WNBA has been looking to expand its field for quite some time now. An expansion franchise in the Bay Area, owned by Golden State Warriors’ Joe Lacob, will join the league in 2025. Besides Toronto,  the WNBA also plans to add at least one more team in 2026, with Portland being a strong candidate to be awarded a franchise.

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