The NHL Board of Governors just announced that Seattle will be awarded an NHL expansion franchise. At a fee of $650 million, the newly appointed franchise will debut in the 2021-2022 season. The league’s 32nd franchise will join the Pacific Division, which means the Arizona Coyotes will move to the Central Division.
The $650 million fee is 30% higher compared to the Vegas Golden Knights $500 million fee. The ownership group responsible are called Seattle Hockey Partners, which is led by billionaire David Bonderman, movie/television producer Jerry Bruckheimer, and long-time sports executive Tod Leiweke. Bonderman will be the majority owner and Leiweke is the team’s president and CEO. The group also announced a $700 million dollar renovation of the KeyArena. The stadium was known to be the home of former NBA franchise, Seattle Supersonics. The WNBA’s Seattle Storm is the only professional organization to currently play in the KeyArena. The team will relocate during the 2019 season as renovations of the KeyArena will transform into a modern-day arena.
The new arena and expansion team would expand the NHL fan base and popularity. The ownership group already reached 25,000 deposits of the season-ticket drive on its first day. On October, the NHL committee voted 9-0 to forward the bid to the Board of Governors after the two-hour presentation by the Seattle mayor and the ownership group. Earlier today, the city and league made history after the Board of Governors unanimously accept Seattle as the 32nd franchise.
After receiving exciting news, the city and it’s fan-base should be more excited than ever due to the modern-era expansion draft rules. This could immediately benefit the Seattle team due to the result of the Golden Knights reaching to the 2017-2018 Stanley Cup Finals. Watching the Golden Knights 2017-2018 expansion season can help Seattle layout their plan on establishing a team and farm system.
Now, there is a lot to look forward too for the new franchise. They now can focus on a name, logo, color scheme and the stadium.