NHL to accept $650million Seattle expansion application
Seattle City Council approved a $650million proposal to renovate KeyArena by 2020 and there could be a new NHL franchise ready to fill up the seats when the construction is finished.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters on Thursday that the league's board of governors have agreed to accept/consider an expansion application from Seattle and allow billionaire David Bonderman and his group of investors to conduct a season ticket drive.
"It does not mean that we are opening a new expansion process. We will let them make a case and if they also want to try to do a study for selling season tickets, they can," Bettman said.
The expansion fee for a new team in Seattle will be $650million and would give the NHL a chance to balance the conferences, if the city's expansion application is accepted.
There are 31 NHL franchises with the Western Conference holding 15 and the Eastern Conference having 16. A team in Seattle would even it at 16 in each conference.
The 7-1 Seattle City Council vote also paved the way for an NBA franchise to immediately return to Seattle.
KeyArena was home to the NBA's SuperSonics for 33 of the franchise's 41 years in Seattle before Clay Bennett's investment group bought the team from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in 2006 and moved the team to Oklahoma City in 2008.