The WNBA will not be announcing a new expansion site by the end of the year as previously expected, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert told The Athletic on Wednesday. Although Engelbert said in September that she hoped to make an expansion announcement by the end of 2022, she doesn't consider this a "delay."
Engelbert said the league received "a ton of interest" from cities and that the league is now considering 10 ownership groups.
Here's more from Engelbert on the situation:
"Look, if someone called me tomorrow and said, 'Here's a check, and we're ready to go. And we have the financial model ready. And here's our corporate sponsors, and we already have thousands of season ticket holders; can we get it done for '24?' Yeah. But I'm just trying to be more realistic. And I probably said that eight (to) 12 months ago and, again, COVID put us totally behind on all of this. I think we'd be in a better position. We raised the capital in February, that we're now deploying on the transformation and growing the league. I wouldn't call it a delay."
The WNBA officially tipped off in 1997, more than 50 years after the NBA. The inaugural season had eight teams, with only three of the original teams still remaining: the Los Angeles Sparks, New York Liberty and Phoenix Mercury.
There are currently 12 WNBA teams, with the newest being the Atlanta Dream, which debuted during the 2008 season. Earlier this year, Engelbert said the league's goal was that two expansion teams could be ready to begin play no later than the 2025 season.
However, she said they want to make sure new ownership group is set up for success. The first year can be rough, as shown by the Dream's 4-30 record during their inaugural season.
In January, the WNBPA hinted at three potential destinations on a tweet to Delta Airlines.
"Just confirming you fly to Nashville, Toronto, and the Bay Area too, right?" read the social media post.
The Bay Area could be San Francisco or Oakland. Other names that have been thrown around include Columbia and Philadelphia.