December 7, 2017 | 6:58pm ET
NHL ALLOWING SEATTLE GROUP TO SUBMIT EXPANSION APPLICATION
What a different a few days can make.
Last week, hardly anyone was talking about the legitimacy of possible NHL expansion to Seattle.
This week, Seattle city council approved a $600 million renovation to KeyArena and two days later, the NHL confirms it is allowing a Seattle group to submit an expansion application and conduct a local season-ticket drive.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman made the announcement to media late-afternoon on Thursday, and also confirmed the expansion fee, should the Seattle-group wish to move forward, is set at $650 million. The expansion fee is set at $10 million, of which $2 million is non-refundable.
Billionaire David Bonderman and Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer have partnered to bring an NHL franchise to Seattle, to play out of the soon-to-be newly renovated KeyArena.
Their process will be similar to the one that occurred with Bill Foley’s group in Las Vegas, which ultimately led to the Vegas Golden Knights entering the NHL as the League’s 31st franchise.
This expansion process will only involve Seattle, as Quebec City and, for example, Houston, will not be considered.
NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told the media the League wants to solidify a balance between its two conferences before considering growth in the East.
The target for which an NHL team will begin playing out of Seattle will be for the 2020-21 season, which is when the renovated KeyArena is set to open. As is standard with expansion applicants, if the Bonderman/Bruckheimer group fails to win its bid for an expansion team, it will be considered a relocation option.
There is no clear indication, as of yet, as to when the Bonderman/Bruckheimer group will file its application and begin its ticket drive.