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WNBA announces new franchise expansion to Bay Area

By David Close, CNN

(CNN) — The WNBA announced a new expansion franchise in the Bay Area on Thursday. The yet-to-be-named team will be headquartered in Oakland, California, and play games at Chase Center in San Francisco starting in 2025.

The Bay Area franchise will be owned and operated by the NBA’s Golden State Warriors co-executive chairman and CEO Joe Lacob and co-executive chairman Peter Guber.

“We have been interested in a WNBA franchise for several years, due in part to the rich history of women’s basketball in the Bay Area, and believe now is the ideal time to execute that vision and build upon that legacy,” Lacob said in a statement.

“The WNBA continues to solidify itself as the preeminent women’s professional basketball league, and we look forward to supporting the best women’s basketball players in the world and our team starting in 2025.”

The franchise will become the league’s 13th team.

The WNBA’s last expansion came in 2007 when Atlanta was awarded a franchise. The Dream began play the following year.

The league was founded in 1996 with games tipping off in 1997.

This latest announcement comes as the Las Vegas Aces and New York Liberty are set to face each other in the WNBA Finals starting Sunday.

“We are thrilled about expanding to the Bay Area and bringing the WNBA to a region with passionate basketball fans and a strong history of supporting women’s basketball,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a press release on Thursday.

“Joe Lacob, Peter Guber and their leadership team know how to build and operate a world-class organization, as witnessed by the immense success the Warriors’ franchise has enjoyed from both a business and basketball perspective over the last decade.”

The Warriors will be the sixth NBA franchise to have a corresponding WNBA team, alongside the Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards.

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