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WNBA Announces Expansion into Toronto for 2026 Season

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The WNBA is extending its reach into Canada. On Thursday, the league announced that Toronto will be the home of the next expansion team, with a new franchise joining for the 2026 season. It will be the 14th team in the WNBA.

“I am honored to officially announce that we have awarded the City of Toronto the 14th WNBA franchise,” said league commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

Per the Associated Press, the team was purchased by Kilmer Sports Ventures, led by Larry Tanenbaum. The cost to land the team was $115 million. Tanenbaum is also the chairman minority owner of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and Toronto Raptors (NBA).

“The more we all recognize the value and potential in women’s sports, the closer we get to a more equitable future in the world of sports,” Tanenbaum said on Thursday.

This is the WNBA’s first international team. A name has not been announced for Toronto’s franchise at this time.

“Growing internationally, I’ve been trying to think through next steps on a global platform,” Englebert told the AP. “It helps us reach new audiences and bring in new partners. The thing I love about going to another country is that the young girls and boys get to see professional basketball for women is important, too.”

Currently, there are 12 WNBA franchises playing in the 2024 season. Next season, the league will add one more team to the mix, with the Golden State Valkyries set to tipoff during the 2025 campaign.

The addition of Toronto will give the WNBA an even 14 teams in 2026.

Toronto mayor Olivia Chow was excited about Thursday morning’s announcement. She also had a special declaration during the press conference.

“On behalf of Toronto City Council, do hereby proclaim May 23, 2024 as WNBA Day in the City of Toronto,” she said.

Toronto will play its home games at Coca-Cola Coliseum at Exhibition Palace. The venue seats 8,700 fans.

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