PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The city of Portland could be the home of the next WNBA team.
On Sept. 22, Oregon senator Ron Wyden wrote a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
In his letter, the senator emphasized his support for the Trail Blazers and expressed how a WNBA team in Portland could further expand professional women’s basketball throughout the country.
“There are lots of reasons why a WNBA team would succeed locally, but let me start with a personal anecdote from a sunny August day just a few blocks from Portland’s Rose Quarter,” he said in the letter. “I was having lunch at a new sports bar dedicated just to women’s sports. Sitting there, it was easy to imagine, as I looked around the place, the buzz for the WNBA that would fill this establishment and so many others like it in Portland, as well as all of Oregon, if there were a WNBA game down the street that night.”
Wyden noted that the University of Oregon and Oregon State University’s respective women’s basketball teams attract huge crowds, but this support is also extended to other local women’s sports.
“In the National Women’s Soccer League, the Portland Thorns regularly are at or near the top of the league attendance list — befitting a passion for women’s soccer that took root long ago at the University of Portland with now-household names like Megan Rapinoe, Christine Sinclair and Tiffeny Milbrett playing locally,” he said.
According to Wyden, a Portland WNBA team would be a natural rival for the Seattle Storm and add 18 more home games to the Moda Center’s event calendar, thus supporting the city’s premier sports arena.
The senator also said that Trail Blazers fans are excited about Phil Knight’s interest in buying the team.
Both commissioners Silver and Engelbert responded to Wyden, thanking him for his support and commitment to bringing a WNBA team to Portland.
“Commissioner Engelbert and her team continue to evaluate future plans for WNBA expansion and I have no doubt that Portland is on the list of cities under consideration,” NBA commissioner Silver said.
In her letter, WNBA commissioner Engelbert said, “While we still have more work to do, please know that Portland is a market that we hold in high regard and are actively considering.”
Engelbert says she’ll keep Wyden updated on WNBA’s future expansion plans.