Where Does Portland Stand With the WNBA After Bay Area Announcement?
The WNBA is bringing its 13th team to San Francisco in 2025. There are strong indications that Portland is next.
The WNBA's long-rumored expansion is finally a reality.
On Thursday morning, the league announced that a 13th team, owned by the Golden State Warriors' ownership group, will begin playing in the Bay Area in 2025. It is widely expected that a 14th team will be announced in the coming weeks, also to launch in 2025, in the interest of keeping the league at an even number of teams.
For over a year, there's been a significant local effort to bring women's professional basketball back to Portland for the first time since the Fire folded in 2002. In February, Oregon's senior U.S. Senator, Ron Wyden, hosted WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert for a private roundtable event at the women's sports bar the Sports Bra, with Trail Blazers and Thorns executives making their pitch for Portland as an ideal WNBA market.
People familiar with the effort have told me consistently over the past several months that there's real optimism that Portland is in line to land an expansion team in the near future, although nothing has been finalized yet. The Next reported that discussions of a Portland team have reached the league level and could be approved by the NBA's Board of Governors soon.
Between a motivated ownership group and proven support for women's sports in the state of Oregon, there's been a belief from the beginning that Portland has as strong a case as any other market.