March 1, 2018 | 3:00pm ET



Rendering of arena for Seattle Centre


To suggest the city of Seattle is starved for an NHL franchise might be an understatement.

Earlier today, the ownership group that is trying to bring an NHL team to Seattle – a group that includes the Oak View Group, Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer and billionaire investment banker David Bonderman – opened the doors to its season ticket drive at 10am PT (1pm ET) and the response, thus far, has been overwhelming.

Over 25,000 season ticket deposits were issued within the first hour of the drive. With an arena capacity of 17,500, some of those season tickets will be offered as partial season tickets.

The Seattle ownership group, which submitted a $10 million application fee, $2 million of which is nonrefundable, on Feb. 13, 2018, has already made over $15 million in deposits. The final price tag on the expansion fee will be a total of $650 million.

The earliest Seattle can start an NHL season is the 2020-21 campaign. The $600 million in renovations the Oak View Group is putting into the Seattle Center, formally KeyArena, is expected to be completed by early-summer 2020, upon which a Seattle franchise can begin playing pre-season games in September 2020, followed by regular-season action in October 2020.

OVG plans on starting the interior demolition and renovations of the building in October. The group has already started to field several inquiries over naming rights of the arena, which is expected to be sold by this summer.

Vegas capped its season ticket drive at 16,000 deposits, which took just under one month to secure – 5,000 season ticket deposits were made in their first day.

Seattle’s season ticket drive will no doubt impress the NHL and its owners, who are looking for the city to become the 32nd market in the League.

After the NHL completes its analysis and reviews of the Seattle group’s application, the League’s Executive Committee will formally review the bid and offer its recommendations to the NHL’s Board of Governors, who will officially vote on expanding to Seattle.

It’s unclear when the NHL will finalize its process, as NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly told TFP there is currently “no timeline at this point.”

However, it’s expected the Executive Committee completes its due diligence by June, which would give Seattle two seasons to hire staff and a hockey operations department, and prepare for a June 2020 expansion draft.