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WNBA to stage first preseason game in Canada

Chicago Sky v Minnesota Lynx to take place on 13th May 2023.

23 January 2023 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Game being played at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto
  • Toronto bidding for WNBA franchise spot

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) will stage its first-ever preseason matchup in Canada on 13th May.

The North American league’s inaugural ‘Canada Game’ will see the Chicago Sky face the Minnesota Lynx at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

It will be only the third WNBA preseason game to be played outside of the US. In 2004, the Detroit Shock and the San Antonio Silver Stars met in Monterrey, Mexico and in 2011 the Atlanta Dream played the Great Britain women’s basketball team in Manchester, England.

“Bringing a WNBA preseason game to Canada is an important milestone for the global growth of the league,” said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.

“I’ve spoken often of the global popularity of women’s basketball and, this past season, WNBA games were broadcast in 207 countries and territories, including in Canada, where fans have shown a great appetite for WNBA action.

“And as Canadian stars like Bridget Carleton, Natalie Achonwa and Kia Nurse continue to flourish in and drive interest around the league, we’re looking forward building on the momentum and excitement surrounding the WNBA in Canada with this historic game.”

SportsPro says…

Heading to Canada is an obvious move for North America’s preeminent women’s basketball competition and could be a precursor for further activity in the country, including a possible expansion franchise.

The WNBA had hoped to add to is 12-team lineup in 2024, only to miss that target, though Engelbert confirmed in December the league was considering proposals from ten interested ownership groups, having trimmed the list from roughly 20.

Toronto is among those bidding for a franchise slot. The National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Toronto Raptors have shown the city’s appetite for basketball, with the team winning its inaugural championship in 2019 and hitting a valuation of US$3.34 billion, according to Sportico, which is the eighth highest in the league.

The success of spring’s Canada Game may go a long way to landing Toronto a spot in the WNBA.

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