The NHL expands from 30 to 31 teams with Las Vegas
The NHL becomes the first of the four major North American professional sports leagues to put a team in Las Vegas. This will be the NHL's first expansion team since the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild came into the League in the 2000-01 season.
The League will receive a $500 million expansion fee from Bill Foley, the billionaire businessman who spearheaded the Las Vegas expansion bid and will be the franchise's principal owner. The $500 million will be distributed equally among the existing 30 teams.
Good news for Vegas. I think it can work, but also a little iffy when you think a lot of tickets will be bought by hotels and used in travel packages. I'm sure the packages will be variable (fly in and see your team, or 3-night see another game and a show of your choice, etc.), but they need the economy to be good.
I do hope they build up a good local fanbase.
I'm sure the NHL would've liked to even up the Conferences (16 teams in the East, all Eastern time zone, and now 15 teams in the West spread over 3 time zones), but there was no official bid from Seattle with one group needing the NBA to get the arena done, and the other group with a hockey only arena (outside Seattle?) was apparently scared off by the price tag (guessing, or they weren't that serious).
I'm sure the League would like one stable Seattle group to resubmit soon.
For the Northwest, I'd also like to see Portland get serious, as I agree with those that say Portland is a better hockey market fan-wise than Seattle.
The Quebec City bid is put on the back-burner. Good idea a few years ago (and they got the arena done), but then the Canadian dollar went down (.78 cents U.S.), and I think that killed it.
I like my hockey, but I have seen my market (Vancouver) hit highs, and then down to some lows (last few years), and can really see how some think the game is boring ('cause when your team is the shits, it really is painful, and easier to change the channel). And every creative idea the League has is out-coached in a few years, and back to square one (ok, maybe pessimistic, but there is something there).
The point is, $500 Million for a hockey team? Good for Vegas (apparently), but it'll be a while for any more.