PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The world’s first and only women’s sports bar, The Sports Bra, is petitioning for Portland to have its very own professional women’s basketball team — and the petition has already received support from Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden.
Bar owner Jenny Nguyen started the Change.org petition on Thursday, March 23. In just the five days since, the petition has garnered more than 900 signatures and counting.
“It’s time to bring a WNBA team to Portland, a place where we support women and women’s sports,” the petition says. “The Rose City has a proven track record of showing up for our women’s teams and a growing community of fans eager for a new team to root for.”
The petition goes on to cite Oregon’s successful women’s sports teams, such as National Women’s Soccer League champions Portland Thorns, the Oregon Ducks women’s basketball program that included current WNBA player Sabrina Ionescu, and former WNBA team the Portland Fire — which Willamette Week reports brought in more than 8,000 fans a night.
A few petition signers had similar reasons for wanting the WNBA in the Rose City, saying that their family held season tickets to Portland Fire games and seeing the team inspired them as young female basketball players.
Other supporters said that a new sports team would be profitable for Portland’s unsaturated sports market and that the city has talented athletes who have to travel overseas to play on their sports teams.
Nguyen’s petition also speaks to the success of the Sports Bra, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary. Since opening, the bar has gained international attention from Vogue, NPR, Bloomberg, etc., and become a hot spot for women’s sports fans.
Sen. Wyden shared the petition via Twitter on Tuesday morning, thanking The Sports Bra for “making it just this easy for every Oregonian to make a big assist in the growing team effort to bring the @WNBA to Portland.”
This petition is the latest push in a statewide effort to bring professional women’s basketball to Portland.
In September 2022, Wyden sent a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert to advocate for a local WNBA team. The two said that they were actively considering the Rose City for their expansion.
Earlier this year in February, sports figures with the Oregon Ducks women’s basketball team, Oregon State women’s basketball team and the Portland Trail Blazers participated in a round table when Commissioner Englebert visited town.
At the time, the commissioner said that expansion could be between two and four years away, and she had to narrow her list of cities down to 10 from 20.