The Golden State Warriors’ new WNBA team finally has its president.
The Warriors officially named Angel City FC executive Jess Smith the president of their upcoming WNBA expansion team on Tuesday. Smith, who has been head of revenue for Angel City FC in the NWSL for the past four years, will start next month.
— WNBA Golden State (@wnbagoldenstate) January 30, 2024
"She thinks really big in terms of what this can become," Warriors president and COO Brandon Schneider told ESPN. "She's not thinking 'we want to be sort of incrementally better.' I mean, sure, but it's thinking much bigger in terms of what this team can become, what this league can become, what women's sports can become."
The WNBA announced it was awarding an expansion team to the Warriors and the Bay Area in October. The franchise, which still doesn’t have an official name, will go by “Golden State” and play in the Chase Center in San Francisco. The team, which is the first expansion team in the WNBA since 2008, will begin play in 2025.
Smith has worked in professional sports for nearly two decades, spending time with the San Jose Earthquakes, Columbus Blue Jackets and Oakland Athletics before working with Angel City FC. Smith reportedly brought in “mid-eight figures in revenue” for Angel City FC in its first year, according to ESPN.
"I do believe that with my expertise coming from being probably the most successful commercial women's brand in the world within sport, coupled with what the Warriors have built, and then all of us being connected to the Bay Area and willing to bring that together, that it will be unstoppable," Smith told ESPN.
The Bay Area WNBA team will be the 13th team in the league. It will join as the WNBA kicks off its 29th season, though the collective bargaining agreement can be opted out of after the 2025 season — which is something the players’ union is expected to do amid its push for higher salaries, greater revenue-sharing and more.
The WNBA is expected to keep expanding, too, and hopes to add a 14th team by 2025 before opening another round of expansion in 2026. Several cities are in the mix, including Sacramento, Portland, Denver, Toronto and Philadelphia — all of which currently have an NBA team.