Earlier this week, the Golden State Warriors ownership team announced that they're close to a deal that would bring a WNBA team to the Bay Area.
The announcement — which was first broken by The Athletic — stated that while an official deal hasn't been finalized yet, it's expected to be soon; perhaps as soon as early October. In other words, we can start to get excited.
The WNBA team would play at the Chase Center — the Warriors' San Francisco home stadium that opened in 2019 — and would be operated by the Warriors. They would also practice and be headquartered at the Warriors' Oakland practice facility.
This groundbreaking deal would not be the first time that Warriors' majority owner Joe Lacob expressed interest into women's professional basketball. Back in 1996, Lacob helped found the ABL (American Basketball League), a women's professional basketball league that featured nine teams. Yet, because the WNBA was founded one year later — and received a strong marketing push from the NBA — the ABL struggled to gain traction and was ultimately disbanded in 1998.
The San Francisco Bay Area has often been viewed as a top destination for a potential WNBA expansion franchise, due to the Bay Area's preexisting women's basketball fanbase always showing support to local schools like Cal Berkeley, Stanford, and the University of San Francisco.
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said last year that she hoped to expand the 12-team league by two, starting as late as 2025. Therefore, if this expansion deal gets finalized soon, we can expect this Bay Area team to be playing games in the next few years.
Championship success aside, the Golden State Warriors have long been considered one of the NBA's world-class organizations. Even back when Steph Curry was draining three's at Davidson University, the Warriors would consistently sell out home games. Oracle Arena — the Oakland stadium where the Warriors played for 48 years before Chase Center opened — was also famous for its thunderous environment; despite the team's on-court product being sub-par. Now that the Warriors have won four NBA Championships since 2015, one can imagine how ravenous the Bay Area's appetite for basketball has become. Hence why the Bay Area is perfect for a WNBA expansion team.
Joe Lacob and Company: please slam dunk this deal soon.
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