Toronto awarded WNBA expansion

Toronto is set to welcome a new women’s professional basketball team, as Kilmer Sports Inc., led by billionaire Larry Tanenbaum, secures an expansion franchise in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Tanenbaum, known for his involvement in Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, faced initial rejection from the MLSE board but persisted in acquiring the team independently. The announcement is slated for May 23, with the team’s debut expected in May 2026 at the Coca-Cola Coliseum, sharing the venue with the Marlies hockey team. While official details are yet to be disclosed, this move aligns with the growing interest in women’s sports in Canada, exemplified by the success of the Professional Women’s Hockey League (PWHL) and the anticipation surrounding a new women’s soccer league. The expansion underscores the WNBA’s momentum, highlighted by recent draft events and increasing ticket sales, promising a vibrant future for women’s basketball in Toronto. Tanenbaum’s Kilmer Group has established Kilmer Sports Inc. for this venture, appointing Ivan Gazidis, a former European soccer executive, to oversee operations, along with Teresa Resch, previously with the Raptors, joining the organization.

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