In March, the Seattle ownership group launched a season-ticket drive and said it reached 25,000 deposits within the first hour.
The NHL will add a 32nd franchise in Seattle, the league announced Tuesday after a unanimous vote by the board of governors. Their city has even won a Stanley Cup, as the Seattle Metropolitans became the first American team to capture it in 1917. With just 230 kilometres separating the two cities, Seattle will ease the Canucks' brutal travel schedule and create the first natural geographic rivalry in franchise history. I know Vancouver's particularly excited about the possibility. Preliminary work has been underway on the arena since an agreement between Oak View Group and the city of Seattle was finalized in late September, but the heavy work can now get started. It's never one factor.
Timing is the only question.
"Today is an exciting and historic day for our League as we expand to one of North America's most innovative, handsome and fastest-growing cities", NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "If we can do it in 2020 (we will), but the other thing is you don't want to start it being a month on the road or something, either".
Bettman confirmed that the expansion fee will be $650 million, up from the $500 million price tag the Vegas Golden Knights paid when they entered the league.
Seattle, the 18th largest city in the United States, has not had a winter sports team since the NBA's SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008. It's a relatively wealthy place. "It nests very nicely with the teams that are already in the Pacific Northwest".
The board's nine-member executive committee recommended proceeding with the expansion application back in October after a presentation that included Bonderman, Bruckheimer and Leiweke. Approval requires a three-quarters vote.
There have been several attempts at solving Seattle's arena issues and landing either an National Hockey League or NBA team in the years since the Sonics left, but none had the support of the city or the private money attached until now. Perhaps most notable is that in addition to housing the NHL team, the facility will also host adult and youth hockey, training camps, tournaments, figure skating and public ice skating.