Detroit, Wash. To Get WNBA Teams
Oct. 01, 1997
NEW YORK (AP) _ Detroit and Washington are ready to join the WNBA.
Those two cities have been chosen to receive the next two WNBA expansion teams, and commissioner Val Ackerman planned to make an appearance in each city today.
The additions will increase the size of the WNBA to 10 teams, with the operative plan calling for two new teams per season for the next several years.
Nicknames and logos have not yet been chosen for the Detroit and Washington franchises, which beat out Orlando in the selection process.
Nor has it been determined which team will acquire the services of Nikki McCray, a 1996 Olympian who was the MVP of the ABL last season while averaging 19.9 points for the Columbus Quest, who won the championship.
Detroit was one of the original markets targeted by the WNBA before its inaugural season, but officials with the Palace of Auburn Hills decided to wait and see how the league fared.
Washington also wanted to have one of the eight original franchises, but the league wanted to wait until the new arena in downtown Washington _ due to open in early December _ was ready.
Similar arena questions have kept the WNBA from placing franchises in Atlanta and Toronto.
The Houston Comets beat the New York Liberty for the WNBA championship in the league's inaugural season, which was marked by higher-than-expected attendance and enthusiastic crowds.
With other teams in Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Sacramento and Charlotte, the WNBA drew more than 1 million fans over the summer as the eight teams averaged 9,669 spectators per game.
The rival ABL begins its second season Oct. 12.