WNBA confirms 14th team heading to Toronto

The WNBA awarded an expansion team to Toronto on Thursday, making the franchise the league’s 14th member and the first outside the United States.

The Toronto franchise will join the league in 2026 and will play will most of its home games at Coca-Cola Coliseum at Exhibition Place in downtown Toronto.

Kilmer Sports Ventures will own and operate the franchise. The organization is led by Larry Tanenbaum, chairman of the NBA Board of Governors and chairman of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which owns the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto FC of MLS and other professional sports franchises.

“Today is a game-changing day not only for women’s basketball but also for sports in Canada,” Tanenbaum said. “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 joins Golden State as new members of the league. The California team, called the Valkyries, begins play in 2025.

Canadian elected officials cheered the news Thursday.

“On behalf of the province of Ontario, I’m thrilled to welcome the first WNBA team in Canadian history to Toronto,” said Doug Ford, Ontario’s premier. “The WNBA will be a fantastic addition to Ontario’s dynamic sports landscape, helping to increase tourism and inspire more women and girls to get involved in basketball.”

–Field Level Media