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The WNBA will play a preseason game in Edmonton, Canada

The WNBA will play a preseason game in Edmonton, Canada

The WNBA returns to Canada, announcing Thursday that it will host a preseason game in the country for the second straight season.

The Los Angeles Sparks and Seattle Storm will face off on May 5 in Edmonton, Alberta at Rogers Place. This comes ahead of the league's 28th season – and with growing interest in expansion into the country.

Last year, the WNBA hosted a preseason game in Toronto.

“I think bringing the game to Canada will have a huge impact,” Engelbert said in a video call with reporters. “I think that happened last year, based on what we're hearing and what our team in NBA Canada is hearing. That's why we're coming back because we want to impact this game globally, not just here in the States.”

Edmonton was the choice due to its “incredible history” of supporting professional sports and “rich relationship” with women's basketball, as well as the success of the 2022 NBA Series matchup at the arena between the Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz.

“We'll continue to look at other cities as well, but we've certainly been impressed with everything Edmonton has to offer,” Engelbert said.

The announcement comes in the same week that reports emerged of a potential bid to expand the league to Toronto. While a bid for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment collapsed in October, billionaire Larry Tannenbaum — a minority owner in MLSE — is reportedly pursuing a team separately through his holding company, The Kilmer Group. The group is expected to meet with the WNBA's board of directors about the bid, with an announcement set to be made in May, according to CBC Sports.

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If Tannenbaum succeeds, it will be the first WNBA team outside the United States. But Engelbert said Thursday that future expansion teams won't start playing until 2026 at the earliest. The league's 13th team, which was awarded to Golden State in October, is scheduled to begin play in 2025.

“We continue to spend a lot of time and engage in very productive conversations with many interested ownership groups in a number of cities and markets,” Engelbert said. “[We] “I have no news to report at this time.”

This will be the fourth pre-season match to be held outside the United States, with matches also taking place in Manchester, England (2011) and Monterrey, Mexico (2004). Engelbert said Thursday that the league might consider playing a regular-season game outside the United States, even though it is likely not in the Olympic year.

“It's something we're thinking about for the future,” she said. “We will look at it in the years we don't have international competitions to disrupt the season.”

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