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SBD/August 28, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies
NHL Expansion Creating Buzz, But League Faces Unique Obstacles In Different Markets
Published August 28, 2014
TORONTO SUN, 8/28). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Ken Campbell wrote the NHL is "ripe for expansion," but for the league to even "entertain the thought of adding or moving a team two things must firmly be in place." That includes a "well-heeled ownership group that is committed to the long-term and an NHL building in which it can play." Las Vegas will have one, while Quebec City will have two, but the two "most desired destinations in terms of revenues -- Toronto and Seattle -- have one between them." Campbell: "To suggest that anything is a slam-dunk in terms of expansion at this point is pure folly" (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 8/27).
NORTHBOUND TRAIN? Conference Board of Canada Senior VP & Chief Economist Glen Hodgson said that an expansion team in the Greater Toronto Area "would likely need to pony up a lot more" than C$100M in order "to please" the Maple Leafs. In Toronto, Josh Rubin cites a source as saying MLSE "would likely want" C$250M to "compensate for the decreased value of the franchise." That amount "would be prohibitively expensive for an expansion team to cover, especially on top" of $400M in expansion fees to the league, and "roughly that same amount to build an NHL-capable arena" (TORONTO STAR, 8/28). Meanwhile, NHL broadcaster Don Cherry believes the "first priority" in terms of expansion is not a second team in the Toronto area. Cherry: "Quebec Nordiques all the way. It’s a no-brainer. They have an arena half built, the greatest fans and so much tradition." Cherry "is skeptical" about the Maple Leafs "getting a cross-town rival." He said, "As for a second team here, sure it would be great and would work. I also think it would be terrific in Hamilton. The problem is, either way it would not hurt the Leafs but hurt Buffalo" (TORONTO SUN, 8/28).
DESERT ROSE: In Phoenix, Dan Bickley writes NHL expansion "would provide a wonderful security blanket for the Coyotes." Expanding to 34 teams "could create" more than $1B "for immediate revenue sharing among the 30 existing franchises." That would "certainly help the profitability and sustainability of the Coyotes." Expansion to Las Vegas, Seattle, Quebec City and Toronto "would also take the most logical relocation destinations off the map, leaving only" K.C. as a "remote possibility." That "would also help assure a long-term future" for the Coyotes in the Valley (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 8/28).