The possibility of expansion has been getting a lot of buzz in the WNBA world recently. Last week, former star Alana Beard held a press conference with the group she’s leading to try and bring a franchise to Oakland, California. Now, two big names in Toronto have thrown their support behind bringing a team north of the border.
Drake, the superstar rapper and Toronto native, took to Instagram with a simple message directed at the league: “I need a Toronto team.”
“I think it’d be great. I think Toronto should have a team,” Nurse said. “This is a golden age, the number of people playing, the amount of talent pouring out. I imagine it’d be wildly successful.”
This is not the first time that WNBA expansion to Toronto has come up. A group launched a bid to bring a franchise to the city in 2019, but it was not successful, in part due to financial questions surrounding one of the co-founders. Daniel Escott, just 23 years old at the time, had previously been in charge of an Esports organization that failed to pay players.
Any future bids will need to have more secure financial backing. They’ll also need the WNBA to approve plans for expansion. The league is still in the research phase and has not made any definitive decisions one way or the other.
“So there’s a myriad of probably 15 or so metrics that we’re looking at to determine whether a market or city could be good,” WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said prior to the Finals last month. “Then obviously you have to evaluate what ownership groups would step forward and support the team because the owners are a very important cog in this whole thing around picking cities to expand in.”
“So those are all the things — again, timeline,” Engelbert continued. “I think in my state of the league at the beginning of the season, I talked about that time next year we’d be talking about a little more details on the plan. So I think I would stick with that into the spring and summer next year and into the 2022 season we’ll be sharing more.”
Though nothing is in place at the moment, expansion does appear to be on the horizon for the league. And assuming new teams are approved sometime in the near future, Toronto will likely be in contention. Time and again it’s proven itself to be a great sports town that supports its teams, such a move would help the WNBA expand to Canada and they already have support of some of the biggest names in the city.