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Report: Toronto awarded WNBA team for 2026

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Toronto has been awarded the WNBA's 14th franchise, with the club planning to begin play for the 2026 season, according to CBC's Shireen Ahmed.

The WNBA granted the franchise to Toronto billionaire Larry Tanenbaum's Kilmer Sports Inc., according to Ahmed. Tanenbaum is a minority owner and chairman of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE), the company that owns the Toronto Raptors and three other franchises in the city.

Tanenbaum initially sought an expansion franchise under the MLSE umbrella, a decision other board members voted down.

An announcement about the WNBA's newest franchise is reportedly expected on May 23 in Toronto.

Kilmer Sports Inc. is a new section of Tanenbaum's Kilmer Group. The organization hired notable European soccer executive Ivan Gazidis and former Raptors vice president of basketball operations Teresa Resch to lead it.

The squad is slated to play in Toronto's Coca-Cola Coliseum, a source told Ahmed. The venue's an 8,000-seat area where the PWHL's Toronto team is wrapping up its first-ever campaign.

The WNBA has already found success in its limited Canadian endeavors, selling out the Raptors' Scotiabank Arena for a preseason game last spring and over 16,000 tickets for a contest in Edmonton last week.

Golden State was recently awarded the WNBA's 13th franchise, the league's first expansion since 2008. The team will begin play in 2025.

Women's basketball continues to grow in Canada, with the country producing WNBA first-rounders in back-to-back drafts. The Washington Mystics selected UConn All-American Aaliyah Edwards, from Kingston, Ontario, at No. 6 overall in this year's draft.

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