Basketball-Toronto awarded WNBA franchise - CBC

TORONTO (Reuters) - Toronto has been awarded a WNBA franchise, according to a report by the CBC, making it the first city outside of the United States to join the women's professional basketball league.

The team will be owned by Kilmer Sports Inc., headed by Toronto billionaire Larry Tanenbaum and begin play in May, 2026, according to the report, which said an official announcement was expected on May 23 in Toronto.

Tanenbaum is a minority owner and chairman of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment which owns the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors, among other teams.

Reuters has contacted the WNBA for comment.

League commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in April that Toronto was among the cities being considered to be awarded the 14th team. The team will reportedly play at the 8,000-seat Coca-Cola Coliseum.

Canada has proven ready to welcome women's pro basketball. A WNBA game between the Chicago Sky and Minnesota Lynx last year at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena featured a sold-out crowd of 19,800.

Last week, a capacity crowd of 16,655 fans packed Edmonton's Rogers Arena for a WNBA game between the Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm in Edmonton.

(Reporting by Lori Ewing; Editing by Toby Davis)

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