Warriors appoint Jess Smith as Golden State's WNBA team president

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The Golden State Warriors' WNBA expansion franchise has yet to announce its name, but officially has a team president ahead of its inaugural season in 2025.

Jess Smith, an 18-year veteran of the professional sports world, was announced as Golden State's WNBA team president Tuesday and will begin her tenure Feb. 14 after previously serving as head of revenue for NWSL's Angel City Football Club.

According to a press release from the Warriors, Smith will oversee all WNBA business operations and report directly to Warriors president and chief operating officer Brandon Schneider.

“Jess is a proven leader and the perfect fit to guide our WNBA team as we begin this exciting new endeavor,” Schneider said in a statement. “She brings a strategic and innovative business approach, in addition to an impressive track record for exceeding financial and overall goals. Those intangibles will benefit us greatly as we aim to build a world class franchise that will establish strong and impactful business initiatives off the court, and compete for championships on it.

"We are excited to welcome Jess to the Golden State family.”

The WNBA announced in early October that Golden State was awarded an expansion team, marking the first time the league has expanded since 2008.

Though still unnamed, the team will begin playing games in 2025 and will call Chase Center home. Its headquarters will be at the Warriors' old downtown Oakland practice facility, a building Smith now calls home in her new front-office role.

“It is an incredible opportunity to build a WNBA team with the backing of Joe Lacob and Peter Guber and the commitment from the Warriors’ Executive Team, led by Brandon Schneider,” Smith said in a statement. “Women’s sports fans demand -- and deserve -- authenticity and a commitment to greatness, two characteristics that the Warriors organization has strongly demonstrated. That is what attracted me to this role.

"The team’s significant initial investment in the WNBA is just a preview of what’s to come for sports fans in the Bay Area and around the world. I cannot wait to join this franchise with the opportunity to impact and transform our local community and the women’s sports ecosystem.” 

Smith also has served as vice president, sponsorship at the San Jose Earthquakes (MLS) from 2017-20, worked for the Columbus Blue Jackets (NHL) from 2015-16 and worked for the Oakland Athletics (MLB) from 2008-15 in roles within ticketing and sponsorship, per the Warriors.

As Golden State embarks on this new journey, it's clear the Warriors are putting together a new WNBA franchise that can become another successful team in the Bay with Smith at its helm.

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