NHL Denies Report It Will Add Four Teams, Says It Has Nothing New On Expansion
The NHL this morning "shot down" a report that it is planning to expand to Las Vegas, Quebec City, Seattle and Toronto, according to the TORONTO STAR. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said to French-language TV outlet TVA Sports, "Not in our plans. Nothing new to report on expansion." The four cities have been named "every time there's talk of expansion in the NHL but it would be surprising that all four would get a team at once" (THESTAR.com, 8/27). SportsBusinessNews.com's Howard Bloom in the initial report stated the four cities would be added "by 2017," with each franchise coming with a $1.4B expansion fee (TWITTER.com, 8/26). Meanwhile, in Vancouver, Tony Gallagher reports today the NHL expanding to Las Vegas is a "done deal," and the the only thing to be determined is "which owner will be entitled to proclaim that he brought the first major league sports franchise to Sin City." Given how "dead set against a team in the gambling haven" NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman was 10 years ago, the move "into another player friendly state-tax-free zone represents a considerable about-face" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 8/27).
BETTMAN'S BIG BET: SI.com's Allan Muir noted Hudson Pacific Properties President, CEO & Chair Victor Coleman "has been identified as someone interested in bringing an NHL club to the Pacific Northwest," while Quebec City, while Quebecor Media President & CEO Pierre Karl Peladeau is "an obvious owner-in-waiting" for a potential Quebec City team. While those two cities and their "lengthy ties to the sport would be logical choices, it's the possibility of pucks in Vegas that really catches the eye ... and draws out the snarky naysayers." Muir: "Give Bettman credit. He's had the vision and the courage to put teams in locations his predecessors never would have considered." Once in place, he has "laid everything on the line, including his own political credit, to help them survive." In many of those locales, the game "has thrived, planting the kind of roots that gives it a legitimate chance of long-term success." If there is "anything to this report, if Gary really believes that Vegas is ready for the NHL -- and vice versa -- maybe we all should just listen to the man" (SI.com, 8/26).