The WNBA is officially expanding to the Bay Area, league commissioner Cathy Engelbert announced Thursday. The new team, tied with the Golden State Warriors, will tip off its season in 2025.
This will be the first time the league has added a new team since the Atlanta Dream in 2008.
"The Bay Area is the perfect market for a WNBA team, and we are thrilled this opportunity has finally come to fruition," Joe Lacob, Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "We have been interested in a WNBA franchise for several years, due in part to the rich history of women's basketball in the Bay Area, and believe now is the ideal time to execute that vision and build upon the legacy."
The team will play at the Chase Center in San Francisco, just like their NBA counterpart. The WNBA team's headquarters will be at the same facility in Oakland that the Warriors used for practice and as a front office from 1997-2019.
The Warriors are now the sixth NBA franchise to have a WNBA team, joining the Indiana Pacers (Indiana Fever), Minnesota Timberwolves (Minnesota Lynx), Brooklyn Nets (New York Liberty,) Phoenix Suns (Phoenix Mercury) and Washington Wizards (Washington Mystics).
The WNBA has been discussing expansion in sincerity for a number of years now, but there has previously not been much in the way of specifics -- both in terms of timeline and location. Engelbert has previously indicated a desire to add multiple teams, but it remains unclear if or when another team will be announced.
There have been a few seasons -- 2004-05, 2007 and 2009 -- where the league played with an odd number of teams, and the current format makes it possible for that to happen again. The top eight teams make the playoffs regardless of conference affiliation, so there wouldn't be an issue from that perspective if one conference had an extra team. Of course, there are still 18 months until the 2025 season begins, so there's time for a second team to be announced prior to then.
At this point, further details regarding the team's name and color scheme, as well as the expansion draft, are still unknown.