Bay Area Among Leading WNBA Expansion Candidates

Bay Area Among Leading WNBA Expansion Candidates
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

California has played an instrumental role in the evolution of the WNBA over the league’s 27-year history.

Between the three-time WNBA champion L.A. Sparks and the myriad of California-born superstar talent that have called the league home, the Golden State has been front and center.

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert hears one question over and over, the same one her predecessors have been asked for more than decade: When will the 12-team WNBA expand?

Engelbert told The Athletic she hopes to identify one or two cities for an expansion franchise by the start of the WNBA playoffs in September or by year’s end at the latest. Those new teams could begin play as early as the 2024 season, she said. took a break from covering sports betting in California and developed hypothetical odds of where the next WNBA franchises could be placed.

WNBA Expansion Odds

City/MetroPct. ChanceOdds
San Francisco 63.6%-175
Philadelphia 33.3%+200
Toronto 33.3%+200
Nashville 25%+300
Denver 15.4%+550
Portland 12.5%+700
Others 16.7%+500
Odds are hypothetical and not available from national operators. There are no legal California betting apps.

Bay Area Leading Candidate For Expansion

The Bay Area is a no-brainer for the WNBA, with a pair of competitive prospective owners (in the African American Sports & Entertainment Group of Oakland and the Golden State Warriors of San Francisco) and two viable arenas to choose from.

That’s why put the Bay Area as the No. 1 contender for a WNBA franchise, with the region having a shot at gaining the league’s first expansion team since 2008.

Other cities that could land the WNBA’s 14th franchise are Philadelphia and Toronto (+200 apiece), Nashville (+300), Denver (+550) and Portland (+700).

If the Bay Area does land a WNBA franchise, it’d mark the second women’s professional league to come to town, after the NWSL’s 14th expansion team, Bay FC, was announced in June.

Bay FC will join two other California-based NWSL clubs, in Angel City FC in Los Angeles and San Diego Wave FC.

The WNBA’s two current super teams — Las Vegas and New York — lead the league standings. Although there is no Caesars Sportsbook California, nationally the operator has Vegas as a commanding championship favorite (-360). New York is second at +275, while Dallas is a distant third at +1800.



Christopher Boan
Christopher Boan
Reporter / Journalist

Christopher Boan is the lead writer at, specializing in sports betting issues in the western United States. He's covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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