The National Hockey League (NHL) has confirmed that Las Vegas and Quebec City were the only bidders for NHL’s “potential” expansion by Monday’s deadline.
NHL said it has received 16 application from 16 groups/individuals since opening the application to all interested parties but on June 21 deadline, only two bidders—one from Bill Foley for a franchise in Las Vegas, Nevada, and one from Quebecor for a franchise in Quebec City, Quebec—were the only ones to submit a formal application along with the required fee—$10 million, $2 million of which is nonrefundable.
“Our purpose, in initiating the expansion process in the manner we did, was not only to explore the possibility of admitting new members to the NHL but also, at the outset, to set realistic guideposts to distinguish between bona fide expressions of interest (i.e., those which have at least substantial ownership capabilities and an arena or the realistic possibility of an arena) from those indications of potential interest which were, at best, merely hopes or aspirations. Apparently, only Mr. Foley and Quebecor have the confidence in their ability to secure an arena and suitable ownership capability to move forward with this process,” said the NHL on a press release.
There is no surprise with either bid as both have ownership capabilities and arenas that should be ready by 2017-18. Foley held a season-ticket drive in December, a push to convince the NHL that a Las Vegas team would be able to thrive in the city; while Quebecor, who manages and owns the naming rights for the city’s new publicly funded 18,259-seat Videotron Arena, believes that the group and the city has all the ingredients for the NHL expansion.
But the question is: Where’s the Seattle bid? At one point, there were three groups in the Seattle area believed to be contenders for an expansion team— one by Connecticut-based investment banker Ray Bartoszek in Tukwila as well as groups from Bellevue and the SoDo District. The financial risk likely scared off the interested parties—an expansion team that’s going to cost at least $500m and a privately funded arena, a plan made up purely of hope at this point and is not concrete.
The NHL determines which of the applicant groups move on to Phase 2 on August 4, where the exchange of information between the NHL and the interested expansion franchise ramps up even more.