NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says the league's board of governors agreed to consider an expansion application from Seattle.
Bettman said the expansion fee has been set at $650 million for Seattle, which would become the league's 32nd team, if approved. He made the announcement Thursday after the first day of the board of governors meeting.
"We've agreed as a league to take and consider an expansion application, and to let them run in the next few months, a season-ticket drive," Bettman said. "This is a process that we go through."
Bill Foley paid a $500 million expansion fee for the Vegas Golden Knights. They began play this season.
Seattle plans to have a new arena ready by 2020 with the intent of luring NHL and NBA teams as anchor tenants.
Bettman says Seattle is the only city being considered for expansion at the moment, which means an NHL team likely won't be playing in Quebec City's 18,259-seat Videotron Centre in the foreseeable future.
"Obviously, there a lot of differences between Seattle and Quebec City, not the least of which is our conference alignment," Bettman said. "Our plan is just to look at Seattle at this point."
Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan said she spoke with Tim Leiweke, part of the Oak View Group that got approval to renovate KeyArena, and that they "couldn't be more thrilled."
"We appreciate the NHL allowing us to file an application for expansion for Seattle and the new Seattle Center Arena," Leiweke said. "We intend to file promptly. We look forward to launching a season ticket deposit campaign and demonstrating Seattle's desire, interest, and intent on joining the National Hockey League. We look forward to providing details on this process in the near future and having the opportunity to demonstrate why Seattle would make a great NHL market."
Durkan hopes to meet with potential owner David Bonderman soon.
"I think we'll see the launch after the first of the year because it's not the time right now to be launching that kind of campaign. But I think there is a lot of pent up appetite in Seattle for this," Durkan said. "I think we'll meet the benchmarks we need to meet and in the mean time we'll be negotiating the side agreements, doing the environmental work and moving forward so we can open when the NHL wants to come."
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