Oakland Wants A WNBA Franchise

The league wants to add at least one team by 2024

As Oakland elected officials look under every rock for hundreds of millions of dollars for Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics’ owner John Fisher, those officials also have another goal. Bring a Women’s National Basketball Association to town. Oakland is clinging to remaining a major league or big-league city as the National Basketball Association’s Golden State Warriors franchise hired the moving trucks in 2019 and drove all the team’s equipment across the Bay Bridge and moved into a new San Francisco arena. The National Football League’s Oakland Raiders business put all the team’s equipment on moving trucks and the team opened up a new stadium in Las Vegas in 2020. Fisher is pitting Oakland against Las Vegas in a battle to land his business. Oakland did add a second-tier United Soccer League team in 2021 and there will be a second-tier USL women’s franchise in the town in 2023. Oakland elected officials were not very subtle in their WNBA pitch.

“Oakland is ideally suited for a WNBA team because of our fervent and rooted fanbase, existing arena space, and shared core values with the WNBA,” the resolution, which was written by at-large Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, proclaimed. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert, announced in June that the league was looking to add one or two teams, possibly for the 2024 season. Engelbert said the WNBA is down to 10 to 12 cities that it is considering for expansion, but she did not reveal any of the candidates. Oakland is one though. Others that could be on the WNBA’s expansion list might include Philadelphia, San Francisco, Toronto, Nashville, and Portland, Oregon. Engelbert did throw up a red flag when it comes for a city to make a pitch. She said a city’s “population, political affiliation and policies, and generational demographics” will play a role in the selection as WNBA players are politically active.

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Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports