NHL Accepts Seattle Ownership Group Expansion Application
The city of Seattle and its fans move one step closer to having an NHL team. The NHL moves one step closer to having 32 teams. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said Thursday that the league has agreed to consider the application for an expansion team to be located in Seattle.
The NHL Moves One Step Closer To Having 32 Teams
The group submitting the application is led by film and TV producer Jerry Bruckheimer and investment banker David Bonderman. The group submitted and had the application approved the same day. This news comes a mere four days after the Seattle City Council approved a $660 million renovation of Key Arena. The application allows the group to run season ticket drive. The two to three-month drive is designed to gauge interest and prove the fan base. It is similar in vein to the season ticket drive organized by the Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley.
Bettman said that expansion fee is set at $650 million. This fee is $150 million more than the fee Foley paid to establish a team in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights made their debut this season. The Golden Knights early success has made them a league darling.
Seattle Has Not Been Granted An Expansion Team – Yet
Despite the excitement around the announcement Bettman was quick to note “That doesn’t mean we have granted an expansion team.”
While Seattle might not have been granted an expansion team it is the only city that the NHL is looking to expand to at this time. Furthermore, Bettman and the NHL have no intention of expanding to Quebec City right now. He also spoke at about the lack of desire to relocate the recently sold Carolina Hurricanes. Saying that the team will not be moved “Period.” This statement is backed up by a clause in the agreement in which new owners cannot apply for relocation for seven years.
He went on to say regarding the possible Seattle expansion, “Among the other features we have in the agreement are that if we decide in the 2020-21 season instead of expanding we’d like to use an existing franchise, that’s always an option.” However, he went on to say “But that’s not something we’re focused on right now because we don’t anticipate anybody moving right now.”
When the NHL opened the expansion process three years ago Bettman and the NHL were clear in their intentions to bring a team to Seattle. The similarities to the Vegas deal are striking. So it seems this is the expected outcome. The NHL wants a franchise in Seattle and has for some time. The only thing that kept it from happening was the lack of an arena deal. With that in place, it seems very likely that the NHL will be entertaining fans in the shadow of the Space Needle very soon. If everything goes according to plan, the next question of Seattle will be what to name their NHL franchise.