Portland will have to wait a bit longer for an expansion WNBA team.
According to multiple media reports on Wednesday, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert wrote a letter to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), saying that Portland’s bid for a new club would be “deferred” due to the upcoming remodeling of the city’s NBA arena.
Per the reports, Engelbert wrote that due to “the potential renovation of the Moda Center currently anticipated to take place during consecutive summers, consideration of a WNBA franchise for Portland will be deferred for now until the timing and scope of the arena improvements are settled.”
The commissioner reiterated that Portland is still viewed as “an ideal destination for a WNBA franchise.”
According to the Oregonian newspaper, Blazers chair Jody Allen was willing to push back the Moda Center construction that had been scheduled 2026-27 so a WNBA team could play several seasons at the arena prior to a one-year temporary relocation.
ZoomInfo co-founder Kirk Brown was due to own the Portland WNBA franchise.
Portland had a previous WNBA team, the Fire, from 2000-02.
The WNBA, currently with 12 teams, concluded its 2023 season last month with the Las Vegas Aces beating the New York Liberty three games to one in the Finals.
The Golden State Warriors will own an expansion team that is scheduled to begin play in 2025 at the NBA’s team arena in San Francisco.
Portland had been expected to be the league’s 14th club.
–Field Level Media