Prospective purchasers of an NHL expansion team in Seattle, filmmaker Jerry Bruckheimer and investment banker David Bonderman, submitted Tuesday their application and a required $10 million fee, signaling the formal opening of the pursuit of a team for the 2020-21 season.
Seattle mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted the news:
Excited to share the news that @OvgSeattle completed their application to the @NHL – one step closer to bringing another great sports team to our City and revitalizing @SeattleCenter #NHLtoSeattle pic.twitter.com/MOFVO1229I
— Mayor Jenny Durkan (@MayorJenny) February 13, 2018
The move had been anticipated, but is not a guarantee of a team. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in December his decision to consider an application was the first of several steps as the NHL pursues a 32nd team.
“That doesn’t mean we have granted an expansion team,” Bettman said at the time. “We have agreed as a league to take and consider an expansion application and to let them run in the next few months a season ticket drive.”
A KeyArena renovated with $600 million in private funds obtained by the Oak View Group of Los Angeles would house the team, and would be a premier hall for concerts. The NBA, which abandoned Seattle in 2008, has no plans for expansion.
The NHL set the expansion fee at $650 million, $150 million more than was paid by Bill Foley, owner of the Las Vegas Golden Knights. His investment is having some early payoff — the Knights’ 76 points lead the Pacific Division and are second most in the NHL (standings).
The likely next step is a season-ticket drive, in which fans are asked to make deposits as a show of faith. In Las Vegas, the ownership group in 2015 hit its target of 10,000 within about a month.
A state-required environmental impact statement is underway for the renovation plan, which is estimated to take most of 2018. If all goes well, a two-year construction plan begins with a teardown of everything under the building’s roof, which is required to be preserved.