The WNBA needs to expand to open more venues

In an age dominated by social media, women’s basketball is experiencing moments like never before. Brittney Griner is back. THE The WNBA has countless stories. And thanks to Angel Reese, Caitlin Clark, and Jill Biden, the college game topples TV ratings. But to take the game to another level, one thing has to happen: WNBA expansion, which will add more spots to the world’s best women’s professional basketball league.

Too many players, not enough roster space

The WNBA has a numbers problem. Too many players and not enough work. Based on Women’s sports only, only 15 of the 36 players drafted in the 2023 WNBA Draft played on Opening Day to start the season. With only 12 teams in the league, there are only 144 spots in the WNBA. This year alone, the 11th, 13th, 17th, 18th, 20th, 22nd, 23rd, 24th, 26th, 27th, 28th, 33rd, 34th and 36th seeds were all at home , when the season started.

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Unfortunately, this is not a new problem. In 2021, only eight players from that draft were on the Opening Day roster. In 2022, this number was 15, the same as this year. And while you can say the numbers are improving, that still means a WNBA first-round pick isn’t guaranteed a job.

“The first thing when I walked in I said, ‘OK, we have 12 teams in a country of over 300 million people. It is not enough” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said back in February. “So that’s why we’re talking about expansion and having more cities to get a bigger fan base. So that’s what makes me here today.”

Nashville, Philly among the expansion possibilities of the city

Based on Athletic, Nashville, Oakland, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, and Toronto are the cities that could be the best expansion opportunities. Just a few weeks ago, the Minnesota Lynx and Chicago Sky played an exhibition game in Toronto, the league’s first game in Canada before the start of its 27th season.

“The energy was amazing. When we came out, the seats were packed and they were already cheering. I was amazed” said Sky head coach James Wade. “Guys, there is something special here in Toronto. I saw so many Maple Leafs jerseys and baseball jerseys and thought “the WNBA deserves this too.”

When the WNBA started, there were only eight teams. At one point, this grew to 16 franchises. It is now down to 12, with the Atlanta Dream (2008) being the latest expansion team. The college game, the dominance of Team USA and the the buzz around the WNBA is growing, women’s basketball is experiencing its legitimate and long-overdue peak of popularity. If this isn’t the best moment to improve your game, I don’t know what is. Also, in a post-Brittney Griner world, we need to give women the best chance to play at home.