NHL distributing expansion application materials; fee to apply over $1 million

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Want to own an NHL franchise? The league has a few questions for you.

The potential 2017-18 expansion process began Monday with the distribution of application materials, which provide a formal framework for interested parties to make their case. Each bid must demonstrate it has the market, the arena, and the finances necessary to pay the expected expansion fee north of $500 million and form a new franchise.

The league is also charging an application fee of more than $1 million, which should limit the number of half-baked expansion bids it receives. Applications are due by August 10.

"We don't want somebody on the back of an envelope or a napkin to submit an application, so there'll be commitments made with respect to an application," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said in Las Vegas in June. "We want real people, and we'll see where the interest comes from."

Las Vegas and Quebec City are the two markets with ownership groups who have confirmed an intention to bid for expansion. Both cities have NHL-caliber arenas under construction and fanbases eager for professional hockey.

A number of different groups representing Seattle have also expressed interest in owning an NHL franchise in recent years, but the city has yet to break ground on a new arena, which could severely hamper any bid.

"No one has their arena act together yet in Seattle," commissioner Gary Bettman said in June.

A second team in Toronto is also a possibility, although a new franchise in the region would likely owe a hefty fee to the Toronto Maple Leafs on top of the application and expansion fees. That hasn't stopped some Toronto-based groups from considering the possibility of securing a foothold in the league's biggest market.

Portland, Milwaukee, and Kansas City have also been mentioned as potential expansion sites.

The NHL has not expanded since 2000, when the Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets brought the league's total to 30 teams. Those franchises cost $80 million each in expansion fees.

NHL distributing expansion application materials; fee to apply over $1 million
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