WNBA franchise granted to Toronto for 2026 season, per reports

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The WNBA is heading to Toronto, according to media reports.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that the ladies’s expert basketball league granted a franchise to the Kilmer Group. The reported offer would have Toronto’s WNBA group start playing in May 2026.

The WNBA did not validate the report.

“We continue to engage in efficient discussions with interested ownership groups in a number of markets and the approving of any growth groups needs a vote of the WNBA and NBA Board of Governors,” the league stated.

Larry Tanenbaum is the chairman and CEO of Kilmer Group and the chairman of the board for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, which owns the NBA’s Toronto Raptors and NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs. He likewise owns 25% of MLSE through Kilmer’s holdings.

Adding a group in Toronto would be the veryfirst outdoors the U.S. for the WNBA, which starts its 28th season next week.

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert stated at the league’s draft last month that she hopes to broaden to 16 groups by the 2028 season. Toronto was one of the cities she discussed when talking about its growth. Other cities discussed by Engelbert for possible growth were Philadelphia, Portland, Denver and Nashville, as well as the South Florida area.

The brand-new Toronto club would be the 14th group in the WNBA. An growth franchise in Golden State is set to signupwith the league in 2025.

The Toronto group will supposedly play at the 8,000-seat Coca-Cola Coliseum, which hosts the AHL’s Marlies and PWHL’s Toronto franchise.

Canada hasactually hosted 2 sold-out WNBA pre-season videogames in the past 2 years. Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena was at capability to see the Chicago Sky defeat the Minnesota Lynx, 82-74 in2023 Edmonton’s Rogers Place was likewise filled as the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Seattle Storm, 84-79, on Saturday.

The league revealed on Thursday that it would have charter flights beginning this season, a relocation that would likewise aid in broadening to Canada.

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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