Wyc Grousbeck says ‘there’s some discussions underway’ about a WNBA team coming to Boston

Celtics

The WNBA recently grew to the Bay Area and is searching for a location for a second expansion team.

Five WNBA teams share ownership with local NBA organizations. Auerbach Center
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Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck says Boston could land a WNBA expansion team in the future.

Following the news of the Bay Area being awarded a ‘Golden State’ women’s team earlier this month, Grousbeck discussed the idea of Boston being the next city to land a squad with Axios BFD on Thursday.

“There’s some discussions underway,” Grousbeck, the Celtics’ owner since 2002, said. “Stay tuned, but I’m not sure. I’ve heard some rumblings.”

The Golden State WNBA team’s announcement came with the news that discussions surrounding a second expansion club would continue. ESPN says Portland would ‘likely’ be the next location, but nothing is set in stone yet. Both the Bay Area’s team and the next expansion team would begin competition in 2025.

A Boston WNBA team could become the Celtics’ “sister team”, meaning that Grousbeck and Co. would be the expansion franchise’s holder if they see fit. Five WNBA teams have shared ownership with their respective local NBA teams in the Indiana Fever (Indiana Pacers), New York Liberty (Brooklyn Nets), Washington Mystics (Washington Wizards), Phoenix Mercury (Phoenix Suns), and Minnesota Lynx (Minnesota Timberwolves).

One obstacle in Grousbeck acquiring ownership would be where the WNBA team plays. Celtics ownership does not own the TD Garden.

“I’ve been open to it all along, except that it just doesn’t work out as well if you don’t own the building,” Grousbeck said.

Don and Paul Gaston, who controlled the Celtics organization prior to selling the team to Grousbeck, had no interest in owning a WNBA team when the league began in the 1990s, according to former NBA commissioner David Stern in 2019.

“There was very little enthusiasm by ownership at that time for a WNBA team in Boston,” Stern told The Athletic’s Steve Buckley. “They were not interested.”

Val Ackerman, formerly the NBA’s vice president of business affairs in the ’90s, bluntly explained why a women’s squad in Boston didn’t happen.

“(The Celtics) didn’t want to invest because they had too much going on on the men’s side,” Val Ackerman, the NBA’s former vice president of business affairs, said. “They wanted to devote their energies there, which is understandable.”

Stern, however, believed a Boston-based WNBA team would be successful.

“Sure,” he said. “Absolutely … of course, it would be great.”

Considering the Celtics’ 17 championship trophies and perennial championship contention, Boston is well overdue in establishing a WNBA squad. A New England professional women’s basketball rivalry could brew given the Connecticut Sun’s close proximity to the big city.


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