The largest city in the United States without a professional sports franchise, Las Vegas, has just been awarded an NHL franchise for the 2017-2018 season.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced the decision after the league’s board of commissioners voted unanimously to include Las Vegas as an expansion franchise. Bettman called Las Vegas “a vibrant, growing, global destination city” and declared this to be not only exciting for Las Vegas but for the league as well.
The owner of the new team, billionaire businessman Bill Foley, will pay $500 million to the other owners of the NHL as an expansion fee. This is the first time the NHL has expanded since 2000 when Minnesota and Columbus each paid $80 to join.
The new team, which so far does not have a nickname, will play in the recently constructed T-Mobile Arena, a $375 million multi-use facility. T-Mobile Arena has a 17,500 seat capacity and as of the writing of this article, 14,000 season ticket deposits have been sold as well as all 44 suites. It is estimated that they are currently at 85% capacity.
Vegas will receive a top-six draft pick in next year’s June draft, and the remainder of the franchise will be selected in an expansion draft.
Foley is joined by minority owners the Maloof family, former owners of the NBA Sacramento Kings. Foley, a former Army man, favors The Black Knights for his team’s name.
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