Oakland not out of the running for WNBA expansion after Warriors land franchise

The Bay Area was just awarded its first WNBA team earlier this month, but a second may be on its way.

The African American Sports and Entertainment Group (AASEG) met with WNBA officials this week and was told Oakland is still eligible when the league opens up a new round of expansion in 2026.

AAESG was in the process of submitting a bid to the WNBA for an expansion team when the league instead chose the Golden State Warriors and San Francisco to receive an expansion team. Warriors co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber will own and operate the team, which will play at the Chase Center in downtown San Francisco and use the Warriors’ Oakland Facility as its headquarters. The team is being marketed as the Bay Area’s team, not just San Francisco’s.

The WNBA is expected to add a 14th team by 2025, and this announcement suggests it will open a new round of expansion again in 2026. Several cities and markets are in the mix for the next team, including Sacramento, Portland, Denver, Toronto and Philadelphia — all cities that currently have an NBA team. The Warriors’ expansion franchise marks the first expansion since 2008, when the Atlanta Dream joined the league.

AAESG is led by president Ray Bobbitt, and 14-year WNBA veteran Alana Beard joined the group in an attempt to bring the team to Oakland. The group had secured Oakland Arena, the old Oracle Arena where the Warriors played before moving to San Francisco, for the expansion team to play in before their bid fell through.

Oakland is still eligible to land a WNBA team when the league starts its next round of expansion again in 2026.

Oakland is still eligible to land a WNBA team when the league starts its next round of expansion again in 2026. (Stephen Lam/Reuters) (Stephen Lam / reuters)

Currently, the WNBA doesn’t have any city with multiple teams. It seems unlikely the league would move to award the Bay Area with a second team before several other qualified cities and regions get their first. It’d be even less likely if Sacramento lands a team in 2025. But the region has been a two-team market in the past with the NFL and MLB, so it’s not out of the question.

And with the way the WNBA is growing, both in size and popularity in recent years, a second franchise across the bay in Oakland could work out great for the league.

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