Where Nashville Stacks Up Against Leading WNBA Expansion Candidates

Where Nashville Stacks Up Against Leading WNBA Expansion Candidates
Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

The WNBA is on the verge of the league’s first expansion in 15 years, with the city of Nashville sitting front and center among possible destinations. This would be a great addition for everyone involved in Tennessee sports betting.

Thanks to the Volunteer State’s longstanding ties to women’s basketball, both in Knoxville and at the high school level, Nashville has emerged as a WNBA target.  

WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert hears one question over and over, the same one her predecessors have been asked for more than a decade: When will the 12-team WNBA expand? 

Engelbert told The Athletic she hopes to identify one or two cities for an expansion franchise by the start of the WNBA playoffs in September or by year’s end at the latest. Those new teams could begin to play as early as the 2024 season, she said.  

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Odds Of Next WNBA Franchises

Due to all of this, BetTennessee.com developed hypothetical odds of where the next WNBA franchises could be placed. 

City/Metro % Chance Odds
San Francisco, CA 63.6% -175
Philadelphia, PA 33.3% +200
Toronto, Ont. 33.3% +200
Nashville, TN 25.0% +300
Denver, CO 15.4% +550
Portland, OR 12.5% +700
Other 16.7% +500

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Nashville A WNBA Expansion Longshot In 2023

Engelbert told reporters earlier this year Nashville, along with cities like Denver, Philadelphia, Toronto, San Francisco, and Charlotte, were among the areas where the league could expand next.  

"There's a lot of cities on the list," Engelbert said. "Now you don't want to derogate the quality of the game and just add teams to add teams. So we wanted to make sure we were in a good position with the transformation to add those teams." 

Given the fact the next round of WNBA expansion will be the league’s first since 2008, there’s a good reason why Engelbert and her team are making sure to dot their ‘I’s” and cross their “Ts” on potential candidates.  

The league wants to avoid the same result that befell 11 other franchises that either folded or relocated between 2002 and 2017, which explains why the expansion process has been as dragged out as it’s been this go-round.  

With record-high TV viewership and a constant drumbeat of potential owners vying for franchises, now seems like the right time for Engelbert to pull the trigger on expansion.  

You can count on Nashville and the state of Tennessee being prime contenders for a franchise, whenever the league’s leaders do just that.  



Christopher Boan writes for BetTennessee.com and has been covering sports and sports betting for more than seven years, with experience at ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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