The NHL’s deadline to submit a bid for expansion teams has passed, and only groups from the cities of Las Vegas and Quebec City have made an official bid of the required a deposit of $10 million, with $2 million of that non-refundable.
If both bids are cleared, it will cost around $500 million to pay off the expansion free, and the two teams are expected to start playing as early as the 2017-2018 season.
Vegas and Quebec City weren’t the only teams and groups interested in an NHL team. There are three different groups in Seattle looking to bring a team over there, with some calling them to combine into one. Not, not so they can become Captain Planet, but to improve the financial power of the bid, which wasn’t submitted.
Groups from Portland, Kansas City and Milwaukee were also rumored to be interested, and some have heard talk of a second Toronto team. The Maple Leafs haven’t been successful for years, but they still have huge waiting list and in terms of demand in the market, they might be the best fit for a new NHL team, which won’t be happening.
The NHL was disappointed with the low “turnout” but it does make sense. Even though the average team pulls in $123 million in revenue each year and the league average for the “value” of a team is $490 million, there’s the matter of an arena, and the prospectus teams in Las Vegas and Quebec City have an arena that’s going to be completed in the next year. They’ll be ready for the 2017-2018 proposed expansion. A lot of other cities were afraid of that short deadline.
Does the NHL need expansion or realignment? Teams like the Arizona Coyotes, Florida Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators have their fair share of problems. They compete with other professional teams in an area that isn’t actually hockey oriented traditionally. Quebec City is obviously a natural fit, and Las Vegas is hungry for anything from the big four leagues, even if it’s in the middle of the desert.
The NHL currently has 30 teams. The last major change was the Atlanta Thrashers folding and moving to Canada, becoming the Winnipeg Jets, which was something Gary Bettman (the league’s commissioner) wasn’t too happy about as the NHL has been trying more and more to expand into the Southern United States markets.