It has been a while since there really has been any news concerning the National Hockey League and expansion. The league went looking for people who were interested in putting down $500 million for an expansion franchise. It was originally thought Seattle and Toronto along with Las Vegas and Quebec City money people would be willing to pay a fee and then get the once over from the 30 league owners.
When all was said and done, three possible Seattle owners and one potential Toronto owner never did apply for the expansion slot while Quebec City and Las Vegas interests did. The NHL took the $20 million in application fees and started a thorough look at both the Las Vegas and Quebec City bids. As far as anybody can tell, the league is in the final process of deciding whether or not to seek $500 million from Las Vegas interests and about $625 million in Canadian dollars from Quebec City investors. The last real public statement on expansion came a month ago from Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs who said “There’s a lot of capability there. I don’t know if there’s a desire or will within the board of the existing franchises for expansion yet, but they both made very interesting proposals. Both have very legitimate arenas in place and organizations in place. There’s a capacity out there, I don’t know if there’s a will from a league standpoint.”
Jacobs also questioned whether very small market Quebec City could handle NHL finances, something that Quebec Nordiques owner Marcel Aubut couldn’t when he sold the team to Denver interests in 1995 who moved the team out of Quebec City. But there is about a billion dollars that would be split 30 ways which means each owner could pocket $30 million in expansion fees without doing any work for the money. And that is why there may be a billion reasons to expand.
I’m Evan Weiner with The Politics of Sports Business.
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner