Toronto Secures WNBA Franchise, Set to Debut in 2026

Toronto Secures WNBA Franchise, Set to Debut in 2026

In a significant move for women’s basketball, the WNBA has taken a major step towards expansion, with Toronto being awarded a WNBA franchise set to debut in 2026. The news, reported by Sports, marks a significant milestone for the league’s growth and global reach.

The WNBA franchise acquisition is spearheaded by Kilmer Sports Inc., led by prominent billionaire Larry Tanenbaum. While Tanenbaum is renowned for his association with Toronto’s sports scene, including minority ownership in the Toronto Raptors and Toronto Maple Leafs, the new WNBA team will operate independently from Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment (MLSE).

Scheduled to commence play in May 2026, the team will call the 8,000-seat Coca-Cola Coliseum its home venue. Notably, the arena already hosts games for the Toronto Marlies and Toronto’s PWHL team, adding to its reputation as a prominent sports hub in the city.

The expansion reflects the WNBA’s commitment to broadening its presence and fostering diversity within the league. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert’s recent statements regarding expansion and the prospect of an expansion draft signal the league’s proactive approach towards enhancing competitiveness and inclusivity.

Toronto’s addition to the WNBA comes in tandem with Golden State also being awarded a franchise, signalling a significant expansion for the league. With Toronto and Golden State joining the fold, the WNBA will boast a total of 14 teams, inching closer to Engelbert’s vision of a 16-team league shortly.


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