By Mike Vorkunov, Marcus Thompson II and Shams Charania
As the WNBA prepares to introduce a new franchise with a planned announcement in the Bay Area on Thursday, the league is still in the process of adding a second expansion franchise in Portland.
The city is being considered by the WNBA for an expansion franchise, according to league and industry sources.
Leading the bid was Kirk Brown, a local billionaire who founded Discover Org, now a company called ZoomInfo, and later exited. The Next reports that Portland’s talks have reached the WNBA’s Board of Governors, which must approve the addition of a team.
Portland has a vibrant women’s sports scene, with the Portland Thorns successful in the NWSL and a draw for fans. In women’s college basketball, Oregon and Oregon State have both been ranked in the top 25 over the past half-decade. This is the city’s second attempt at a WNBA franchise after the Portland Fire lasted just three seasons from 2000 to 2002.
This time, the WNBA comes to Portland on different terms. Women’s basketball is growing nationally and the league is on the rise.
The WNBA’s Bay Area expansion team will begin in 2025
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert visited the city last February, centered around women’s sports and chaired by US Senator Ron Wyden. It was held at The Sports Bra, a Portland bar dedicated to women’s sports and featured sports celebrities from around the state.
“A lifelong lover of basketball, Senator Wyden knows well that the game has many tasks before the final buzzer,” said Wyden spokesman Hank Stern. He continues to work hard with everyone involved in Portland’s pursuit of a WNBA expansion franchise. And the scoreboard remains confident that Portland will end up winning that franchise.
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(Photo: Mitchell Leaf / Getty Images)