WNBA assesses expansion plans – commissioner

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October 6, 2020; Bradenton, Florida, United States; Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart (30) is presented with the MVP Trophy by WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert after the 2020 WNBA Finals at IMG Academy. Mandatory Credit: Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports / File Photo

July 14 (Reuters) – The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) hope to have more concrete expansion plans in place around the same time next year after the COVID-19 pandemic delayed progress, the curator Cathy Engelbert.

Engelbert, speaking to reporters ahead of Wednesday’s WNBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas, said growing the league to 12 teams remains a priority.

“It would be something I would talk with you more seriously if it weren’t for the pandemic,” Engelbert told reporters.

“We are constantly evaluating it. I would say that at this time next year we will be talking a lot more seriously about what this path looks like, how many teams, where, which cities.”

The WNBA started playing in 1997 with eight teams, grew to 16 clubs in 2000 before falling back to 12 clubs after several franchises closed due to financial difficulties.

Engelbert said several data-driven factors will factor into deciding where to place a WNBA team next, including fans and the popularity of the game at the college level in potential markets.

“We are starting this analysis but nothing at this time,” Engelbert said. “For now, nothing to say, other than I think I’d like to think about it, you know when you’re only in 12 markets and you’re in a country of our size and scale and there there are cities where you would think a WNBA team would thrive. “

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto Editing by Toby Davis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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