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WNBA adding expansion team in Toronto: League’s first franchise outside United States will begin play in 2026

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The WNBA announced Thursday it will be adding an expansion team in Toronto. The Toronto franchise will be the league’s first outside of the United States and the WNBA’s 14th team, and it will begin play during the 2026 season.

The franchise will be owned Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which owns the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, MLS’ Toronto FC and the AHL’s Toronto Marlies. MLSE is not directly involved with the deal, however. 

“Bringing a WNBA team to Toronto represents an important milestone for our league as we continue to expand both domestically and outside the United States,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement.  “With Larry Tanenbaum’s distinguished record of leading successful sports franchises and Toronto’s appeal as a dynamic, diverse city that cares deeply about the game of basketball, we are confident that this new team will thrive as a first-class WNBA organization and become a great source of inspiration and support for the Toronto-area community and across Canada.”

“Today is a game-changing day not only for women’s basketball but also for sports in Canada,” Tanenbaum added.  “This franchise will be Canada’s team, and we are so excited to unite the country and inspire pride and passion in fans from coast to coast.”

Toronto will play its home games at the Coca-Cola Coliseum in downtown Toronto. The franchise also could play additional games at Scotiabank Arena, home of the Maple Leafs and Raptors. 

Golden State was recently awarded a WNBA team and announced it will go by the Golden State Valkyries earlier this month. Engelbert has expressed a desire for the league to get to 16 teams in the coming years.

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