Drake Is Calling for a WNBA Team in Toronto

The Raptors' global ambassador "needs" an expansion team in the North
Drake Is Calling for a WNBA Team in Toronto
In hopes of continuing to grow the game of basketball in Canada following the Toronto Raptors' 2019 NBA championship, Drake has joined the legions of basketball fans in the city who are calling for a WNBA team north of the border.

The message from the rap icon to the WNBA, posted this morning in an Instagram story, was simple: "I need a Toronto team." On the heels of the Raptors' NBA championship in 2019, a bid for a Toronto expansion franchise was put forth without the involvement of the Raptors or parent company Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), but perhaps this is where Drake can put his status as the Raptors' global ambassador to more use than being a courtside fixture.

In a recent interview with ESPN, WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert shared that the league is eyeing expansion opportunities over the next five years. "We're doing all that data mining now," Engelbert said. "I suspect by next summer or this time next year, in our 26th season, we'll be talking about the number of teams and a list of where."

Founded in 1996, the WNBA currently has 12 teams ‚ÄĒ none of which are in Canada. That leaves Toronto as one of the largest North American markets without a WNBA team. Data shows that interest in a Toronto franchise is strong, with a¬†2020 Nielsen Sports study [via¬†Sports Illustrated] showing that interest in the WNBA increased by 31.0 percent year over year amongst Canadian sports fans, and 50.0 percent amongst the general population.

Canada's lack of a WNBA team certainly isn't for a lack of talent. The Canadian National Senior Women's team is ranked fourth in the world by FIBA, while players Kia Nurse, Natalie Achonwa and Bridget Carleton log WNBA minutes for the Phoenix Mercury and Minnesota Lynx, respectively. TSN and Rogers Sportsnet also aired the 2021 WNBA All-Star Game, reaching nearly half a million Canadian viewers combined.

Drake recently reunited with Majid Jordan in a year that's already seen him deliver new album Certified Lover Boy.