WNBA reportedly will not announce expansion plans by the end of the year, still hopes team starts by 2025

PALMETTO, FLORIDA - AUGUST 29: A basketball sits near the WNBA logo during a timeout of a game between the Las Vegas Aces and the New York Liberty at Feld Entertainment Center on August 29, 2020 in Palmetto, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
The WNBA is still planning to expand, but won't announce a new destination by the end of 2022. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

The WNBA expansion process is taking a little longer than expected. WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert told The Athletic the league would not announce a new expansion site by the end of the year.

Engelbert said in September she would love to make an expansion announcement by the end of 2022. The league, however, is still in the process of gathering information. Engelbert said she doesn't consider this a delay, per The Athletic.

“Look, if someone called me tomorrow and said, ‘Here’s a check, and we’re ready to go. And we have the financial model ready. And here’s our corporate sponsors, and we already have thousands of season-ticket holders; can we get it done for ’24?’ Yeah,” she said. “But I’m just trying to be more realistic. And I probably said that eight [to] 12 months ago and, again, COVID put us totally behind on all of this. I think we’d be in a better position. We raised the capital in February that we’re now deploying on the transformation and growing the league. I wouldn’t call it a delay."

Engelbert said the league received "a ton of interest" from cities, more than she originally expected. She confirmed the league is considering 10 ownership groups, which she previously called out before the 2022 WNBA Finals.

The league anticipates an expansion team won't be ready to play until 2025 at the earliest. Once that happens, it will mark the first new team since 2008 when the Atlanta Dream started play.

Multiple cities are vying to land a WNBA team

The WNBA should have some tough choices to make when the time comes to pick an expansion site.

A number of cities — including Oakland and Toronto — have expressed excitement over the possibility of adding a team. Drake — a notable Toronto native — has pushed hard for Toronto to get a team. Other cities in the running include Columbia, S.C., Nashville, Philadelphia and San Francisco, according to Yahoo Sports' reporting this summer.

The WNBPA in January hinted at wanting multiple expansion teams, not so subtly suggesting the Bay Area, Nashville and Toronto as possible sites.