Franchise expansion in NorCal

Erick Amaya, Staff Writer

With the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League scheduled to relocate to Las Vegas prior to the 2020-21 season, I began to think of all the professional sports teams in Northern California. No longer including the Raiders, there are seven tier-1 and one tier-2 professional teams.

One thing I realized is that Northern California is good at having multiple teams of the same sport. The San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics compete in Major League Baseball, the Golden State Warriors and the Sacramento Kings form part of the National Basketball Association, and the San Jose Earthquakes compete in Major League Soccer. The Sacramento Republic will soon play in the MLS, but will be competing in the United Soccer League until the 2022 MLS season. 

The San Jose Sharks are mid-season in the National Hockey League, and the Bay Area now has only one NFL team in the San Francisco 49ers. 

As an advocate for growing women’s sports, I felt disappointed that even with the success these franchises have, they have not taken the initiative to bring professional women’s sports to Northern California. 

I am aware that the Sacramento Republic and Golden State Warriors organizations have expressed their desire to have franchises in the National Women’s Soccer League and the Women’s National Basketball Association respectively, but this sentiment is not enough. 

The California Storm, a women’s soccer team located in Sacramento, which competes at the tier two level, let their fans down after not going through with NWSL expansion for the upcoming 2020 season. In an article by the San Francisco Chronicle, the Warriors’ organization claimed expansion into the WNBA would happen “once the new arena is complete.” 

Spoiler alert, the Chase Center is now complete and there have been no signs of potential franchise expansion ahead of the WNBA season, which starts in May 2020. 

The National Professional Fastpitch, professional women’s softball league in the U.S. is slowly expanding West, and hopefully either Bay Area MLB team takes the initiative in franchise expansion. 

I am not saying that all of these professional women’s sports teams should be established at the same time, but I do hope that in the near future these long-successful Northern California franchises will bring more women’s teams to our region.