It’s been nearly 13 years since the Houston Comets played their last WNBA game.
The team didn’t even play its last home game in Houston. Rather, the team played its final game as a franchise in San Marcos after Hurricane Ike came to town.
The ending was a long journey from where it first began as the inaugural champions of the WNBA, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
The Comets won the league’s first four championships, cementing its place in WNBA history. You cannot tell the history of the WNBA without recognizing the Comets.
While the WNBA was experiencing a transition period, the league struggled to find its niche and maintain interest amongst its fans.
However, the league’s creative work in the 2020 season and the work of commissioner Cathy Engelbert to be a leading voice in social justice movements, coupled with its unique ways to market its talent have put WNBA interest at an all-time high.
Viewership in the United States is up 74% this season across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. The league has also seen a 15% increase in WNBA Finals viewership from 2020 vs. 2019.
With the WNBA’s popularity on the rise, it’s becoming a question of not if, but when the WNBA will expand from its 12-team model.
The league started out as an 8-team league back in 1997 but doubled to 16 in its first four seasons.
Similar to the Comets, five other franchises have suspended operations in WNBA history, but the league will likely take extremely careful measures to ensure that a new franchise would be set up financially to succeed.
It’s uncertain whether Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta would wish to be the driving force behind a WNBA return to Houston, but he has mentioned that he is interested in being part of an NHL expansion for the city.
With viewership numbers approaching new heights and popularity increasing as well, a return of the Comets would certainly be welcomed in the city of Houston.
Red Nation, would you be excited about a Comets return to the city?