Portland is ready for the WNBA

Portland is ready for a WNBA expansion franchise

Portland may be headed back to the WNBA if local business leaders get their wishes. At least that's the message they passed along this week as the league visited to investigate the city getting an expansion franchise in the next two years.

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden welcomed WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert Monday, and backed by an enthusiastic crowd at the cities women's-themed sports bar, made a pitch to be among the dozen cities being considered for an expansion franchise prior to the 2025 season.

Portland hosted a WNBA team from 2001-03, but it folded under the weight of Blazers owner Paul Allen's financial commitment to ... the Blazers. Rather than offer to sell and move the team, Allen simply folded the franchise.

In the two decades since, Portland has become one of the best markets for women's sports in the nation, led by the annual average attendance for the NWSL's Thorns. Oregon and Oregon State are annually among the top average crowds in the Pac-12 as well.

Engelbert told leaders following the meeting that as many as a dozen cities are being considered to join the 12 teams currently in the league, which began play in 1997.

Las Vegas is the reigning champion.

Cliff Pfenning

Cliff is a lifelong resident of Oregon and has four decades of experience as a writer, photographer, videographer, broadcaster and now producer. He's a grad of Benson and the University of Oregon, and publishes Oregonsports.com as well as OSPN, which is scheduled for delivery as a streaming Mobile App in June.

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