OAKLAND, Calif. (KRON) — A former WNBA champion is now onboard to lead Oakland’s effort to bring women’s basketball to the East Bay.

At a virtual press conference on Thursday, she explained why now is the best time for professional basketball to return to Oakland.

“I am super excited about being a part of it and I can’t wait to work with each and every one of you,” Alana Beard, African American Sports & Entertainment Group.

There is a buzz surrounding former WNBA champion, Alana Beard, partnering with the African American sports and entertainment group to lead AASEG’s all-female ownership’s effort to bring a new WNBA expansion franchise to the city of Oakland. Beard talks about why now is the perfect time for the WNBA to take advantage of the Bay Area sports market.

“I can pull from many examples. You think about Kansas City and what they have done in terms of dedicating an entire arena that cost $70 million to women’s sports or the increase in viewership,” Beard said. “49% in its 25th year. I can not think of a better time than right now.”

“We are ready. We have the venue. We have the community,” Kaplan said. “We have the support, and we have the basketball.”

Oakland vice mayor Rebecca Kaplan led the effort to secure the Oakland-Alameda County Joint Power Authority’s unanimous vote for AASEG’s non-binding agreement to use the Oakland Arena as the new home for WNBA basketball.

“I do want to make clear that they were the only applicant for the arena. There were not two competing bidders for the area lease,” Kaplan said. “AASEG submitted the proposal submitted the lease and it was unanimously approved.”

“The next steps obviously will be us starting to go through the process of communicating our proposal with the league leadership,” Bobbitt said.