Toronto could get a WNBA team after all

Toronto’s sports tycoon, Larry Tanenbaum, is actively pursuing the establishment of a WNBA expansion team in the city, independent of his involvement with Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), according to a CBC news story.

Tanenbaum, known for his role as a minority owner and chairman within MLSE, is spearheading this venture through his holding company, the Kilmer Group. Sources revealed to CBC Sports that discussions are underway between Tanenbaum’s group and WNBA leadership, with a potential announcement anticipated as early as May.

While a WNBA spokesperson declined to comment, it’s reported that Tanenbaum is eyeing the Coca-Cola Coliseum on Toronto’s Exhibition grounds as a potential venue. With a capacity of around 8,000, this arena, currently home to the Marlies of the American Hockey League, could serve as both a game venue and a practice facility, potentially also accommodating training sessions for Canada’s national men’s and women’s basketball teams.

There was a big push for the league to come to Toronto ahead of a WNBA exhibition match last May, which sold out Scotiabank Arena almost immediately.

Toronto Raptors TV analyst and WNBA veteran Kia Nurse was all-in on the move.

“I think the WNBA is clearly looking toward Canada and looking toward expansion. I know we’re bringing, I believe, one exhibition game here next year to Toronto, and so having the opportunity for young women to see the WNBA in Canada live, having the opportunity for the game of basketball to continue to grow on a different front than just simply the Raptors, will be really important and really exciting for our fans,” she said, during a previous interview with

Toronto Raptors ambassador Drake has also done his part to promote the city as a league destination via social media.

This move comes amid previous reports indicating Toronto’s inclusion on a shortlist of cities being considered for WNBA expansion. However, Edward Rogers, chairman of Rogers Communications and a significant stakeholder in MLSE, was reportedly opposed to the bid. And that seemed to end the discussion before it had really even begun.

Coincidental to the news, former MLSE executive Teresa Resch left the organisation and has been pegged by the CBC to play a role in the new franchise.