In twin letters to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) Thursday, the commissioners of the National Basketball Association and the Women’s National Basketball Association told the senator Portland was under consideration for a WNBA team.
The executives offered the assurance in response to a letter Wyden sent them last week urging the leagues to bring a women’s team back to Portland.
“My colleagues and I have spent a lot of time over the past few months studying the expansion and exploring potential cities that would be a good fit to add a WNBA team to,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert wrote Sept. 29. “While we still have more work to do, know that Portland is a market we hold in high regard and are actively considering.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver echoed that sentiment in a letter dated the same day:[Portland] has a proven track record of championing women’s sports,” Silver wrote, “and I have no doubt that Portland is on the list of cities under consideration.
The Portland Fire, the city’s last WNBA team, left Portland in 2002 after just three years. But during this short time, although mediocre in terms of wins, the team amassed a loyal fan base at the Moda Center and amassed 8,000 spectators per game.
Earlier this year, WW reported that two parties potentially wanted to bring a WNBA team back to Portland. One of them is tech entrepreneur and billionaire Kirk Brown, who lives in Vancouver, Washington. Brown’s effort appears closely tied to Nike co-founder Phil Knight’s offer to buy the Portland Trail Blazers, which Wyden openly urges the NBA to step up.