A WNBA team in the Bay Area is close to becoming a reality after Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob is closing in on a deal with the Women’s National Basketball Association.
A report from The Athletic revealed that the deal whilst not complete as “several details still need to be worked out”, a WNBA team to the Bay Area is closer than ever with an announcement that could come “as soon as early October”.
The WNBA franchise would play their games at the Chase Centre – home of the Golden State Warriors – and be based in Oakland at the Warriors practice facility.
A Warrior’s statement told The Athletic: “We have had productive conversations with the WNBA and look forward to the possibility of being a part of the league’s expansion plans. However, it would be premature to assume any potential agreement has been finalised.”
A WNBA team in the Bay Area would increase the league’s total team to 13 and add another franchise to the West Coast, which includes the Los Angeles Sparks and reigning WNBA Champions the Las Vegas Aces.
Warriors owner Lacob has been a long-standing supporter of women’s basketball, helping in the foundations of the ABL in 1996. The ABL subsequently fizzled out due to the formation of the WNBA one-year later and backed by the much larger financial muscle of the NBA.
The WNBA’s popularity has soared over the last several years and the league has been open to expansion teams. Whilst a team in the Bay Area will need approval from the WNBA Board of Governors, the town’s support for women’s college basketball games lends it a suitable home for a franchise.
Furthermore, a Warrior’s stakeholder recently opened his 10% share in the franchise to buyers. The partial owner valued his stake at $700m and if a buyer were to match the asking price, it would skyrocket the team’s valuation to over $7bn, making it one of the most valuable sports teams in the world.
Since taking over as owner in 2010, Lacob has transformed the Warriors into the most successful NBA team during his tenure, capturing four NBA titles and moving the team into the Chase Centre in 2019, which may prove to work in his favour in his bid to land a WNBA team in the region.