Bay Area/ Oakland/ Sports
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Published on September 27, 2023
WNBA Team Close to Touching Down in San Francisco, HQ in OaklandGetty Images

In what could be seen as a major milestone for women's basketball in the area, a deal is reportedly close to being inked that would bring a WNBA team to the Bay Area, and the team is set to be owned by Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob. According to The Athletic, the deal is nearing completion, but a few details still need to be ironed out.

The potential franchise would play its home games at San Francisco's Chase Center, with the team headquarters and practice facility located in Oakland. This development could prove significant for Oakland, a city on the verge of losing its third professional sports team. The Bay Area's fervor for women's basketball has long made it a prime candidate for a WNBA team, and now it seems the likelihood is even higher.

WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert stated in the past that she planned to expand the league, and the Bay Area was always high on the list of potential locations for a new team. Engelbert told Yahoo!, "Certainly Bay Area, generally, including Oakland or San Francisco, is certainly on our list, high on our list." She also cited the popularity of women's college basketball in the region as a contributing factor to the decision, per KRON news report.

Back in September 2022, Oakland Vice-Mayor Rebecca Kaplan introduced a resolution aimed at bringing a WNBA team to the area. The resolution demonstrated the city's excitement to partner with the WNBA during its expansion phase. With the addition of a WNBA team, the Bay Area's women's basketball landscape could receive a major boost, especially considering the local presence of the powerhouse Stanford Cardinals - a team already well-established within the thriving local women’s basketball scene.

Now, according to ESPN, the Golden State Warriors are close to finalizing their deal to bring the WNBA franchise into the area. The team would not only play at the Chase Center but also be operated by the Warriors, providing a seamless integration into the existing sporting infrastructure of the region.

A successful agreement would be noteworthy for Warriors owner Joe Lacob, who has a long history of supporting American women's basketball. Lacob played an integral role in establishing the American Basketball League (ABL), which started play in the fall of 1996. He was the owner of the San Jose Lasers, a team that featured Stanford stars Jennifer Azzi and Sheri Sam. Though the ABL eventually folded in 1998, Lacob's commitment to women's basketball remains a constant through his unwavering support of the WNBA.

In May, Engelbert mentioned her desire to swiftly include one or two additional teams by 2025. Bringing a team to the Bay Area would undoubtedly contribute to achieving that goal. The region's connection to the sport is further strengthened by the long-standing success of the Stanford Cardinals and their dedicated fan base.