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Report: Next NHL Expansion Fee Could Be $600-$700M

National Hockey League

Should an NHL expansion process unfold in the near future, the league’s expansion fee could cost between $600-$700 million, according a report from Sportsnet. 

The NHL’s most recent expansion club–the Vegas Golden Knights–just began play this year, putting the league at 31 teams. Since Las Vegas’s bid was the only one chosen in the most recent expansion round, and other cities are generating headlines for their reported interest in the league, chatter concerning possible NHL expansion continues to surface.

NHL expansion is not formally on the agenda for the league’s upcoming meeting, but a recent report from Sportsnet indicates that the next expansion fee is expected to fall in the range of $600 to $700 million. Reports of that fee, which would top the $500 million paid by Golden Knights owner Bill Foley, come as several cities mull their NHL prospects. More from Sportsnet:

That’s according to Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston, who reported that the next NHL franchise is expected to cost between $600-700 million.

“Expansion is not formally on the agenda as owners gather Thursday and Friday in Florida, but there is a strong feeling that it will be discussed on some level,” Johnston said during Hockey Night in Canada’s Headlines segment on Saturday. “We’ve talked about Houston, we’ve talked about Quebec City in recent weeks. There’s also a key vote in Seattle on Monday where the Oak View Group could have its $600-million arena proposal approved by council to get things going. That will obviously get the attention of NHL owners should it go through.

“And with how well things have gone in Vegas on the ice, off the ice, all this interest that they’re getting, the feeling is that the next franchise in the league is going to cost $600 million to $700 million.”

Seattle is sure to generate more attention in the coming weeks, as its city council is expected to vote on a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for a proposed KeyArena renovation on Monday. If that process moves forward, Oak View group would complete a $600 million privately-financed overhaul that would bring the existing KeyArena to modern NBA and NHL standards.

In Houston, new Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta has indicated that he is open to bringing a NHL team to the Toyota Center. Meanwhile, questions continue to surround Quebec City after its expansion bid–which would have led to a club playing games at the new Videotron Centre–was passed over by the NHL last year.

Of those markets, Quebec City has the most extensive history with the NHL, as it was home to the Quebec Nordiques until the club moved to Denver prior to the 1995-96 NHL season. Toyota Center, however, has had a recent run with minor league hockey, as the Houston Aeros (AHL) played there from 2003-2013 before relocating to Des Moines.

RELATED STORIES: KeyArena Renovation Vote Set for Monday; New Rockets Owner Would “Love” to See Houston NHL Team; Best of 2016: #9, Quebec City Left Out by NHL

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