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WNBA has reportedly awarded Toronto an expansion franchise to begin play in 2026

Toronto will reportedly get a WNBA expansion franchise starting in 2026, according to CBC’s Shireen Ahmed.

The franchise will be owned by Kilmer Sports Inc., led by billionaire Larry Tanenbaum, who helped bring the NBA’s Raptors to the city and is chairman of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, owner of the NHL’s Maple Leafs, MLS side Toronto FC, the CFL’s Argos and the AHL’s Marlies.

An official announcement is expected on May 23.

Toronto will become the WNBA’s 14th team after the Golden State franchise to enter the league in 2025.

According to CBC, the new Toronto team would not play at Scotiabank Arena. Instead, they will tip off at Coca-Cola Coliseum, an 8,000-seat arena that is home to the Marlies, the Maple Leafs’ top minor league team, and is owned by MLSE.

Toronto will follow Golden State's entry into the WNBA next season, becoming the league's 14th team.  (Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Toronto will follow Golden State’s entry into the WNBA next season, becoming the league’s 14th team. (Photo by Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

As talks of WNBA expansion continue, Toronto has always been one of the favorites to land a team, and Canadian fans have shown up.

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The WNBA has played a preseason game in Canada each of the past two seasons. In 2023, the Chicago Sky and Minnesota Lynx played in front of a sold-out crowd of 19,923 fans at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena. Last week the Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm saw 16,655 people fill Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Adding Canada’s first professional WNBA franchise would only help the sport’s growth in the country, as Michael Bartlett, president of Basketball Canada, told CBC in March.

“Two specific things would help strengthen women’s basketball in Canada,” Bartlett said. “A national league for women, and then a professional WNBA team that would have the same lightning rod effect as the Raptors.”

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