NHL Expansion

Las Vegas and Quebec City

Which will get an NHL franchise if any?

But Seattle was also a contender I thought would make a better candidate for the NHL, and have more hockey fans dedicated to a team as well. But I don't think that's going to happen.

The two front runners seem to be Quebec City and Las Vegas. I am making a prediction that Vegas gets it before anyone.

The first three important aspects of expansion are—will the owners own the arena, who owns the team and can they support it financially along with the demographics of the city, state or province that they want to expand in. This excerpt I took from an interview with NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly who was on Sportsnet.

There are two cities as I said; really in the running for NHL expansion, Las Vegas and Quebec City. But ask yourself, why aren't there any 4 major pro sports teams in the city of Las Vegas, despite it being the
epicenter for sports betting and sports books.

The NHL seems to think that it will persuade sports fans to become fans of hockey and watch the NHL, when that's far from the truth. They're looking more for market share. They already went into a number of US based markets and faltered money wise—like Phoenix and other markets such as Florida, Carolina, Nashville and Columbus thinking any market is a good hockey market, as long as the owners have mega bucks, and can get an initial season's ticket base to satisfy the NHL governors, which consist of the owners of the top teams in the NHL, and the NHL executive committee.

One of the main aspects of applying to become the owner of an NHL franchise is giving actual statistical proof the team and business will be profitable. Not just can be. And they have to have a long term vision for the team and the community that actually will work. The governors will always have the final say, not Gary Bettman or Bill Daly who are the NHL Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner respectively.

Does Vegas And Quebec have the numbers to actually be profitable?

Las Vegas has major tourism and gambling, and casinos are the biggest employer in the area. And sports is big amateur and minor pro wise, but not one of the 4 major pro sports has an actual team in Vegas.

Now, as far as Quebec City goes, it's hockey crazy, but doesn't necessarily have the population base to support a team. Where as Vegas might, I said might be able to. Gambling on hockey is a tough game handicapping wise, and NHL players gambling in Vegas could be an issue as well as outcome of games being influenced by sports books, or criminals.

The Canadian Dollar's Major Drop A Big Problem For Canadian and US Teams?  

One other big issue looming over all this is the Canadian Dollar. I looked at what the Canadian dollar is worth today. It's 74 cents US. That costs Canadian teams more to operate and contribute less to league revenues as well. Players are paid in US dollars for the most part, and an even bigger fee was the team expansion fee of approximately 500 million dollars;which in Canadian dollars is $678, 210, 000.00

That's 678 million 210 thousand guys.

If you're canadian like myself you're thinking you're getting more money because of the exchange rate. You are, but all that money has to be turned over into US dollars, which leaves very little to play with and actually make a profit with. If you could pay your players in Canadian dollars and make a lot of money through other sources—such as ticket sales, events, concessions, team merch and so on to pay for all this, and come out ahead financially would do a lot to alleviate some of those money woes possibly.

I didn't say being an NHL owner was a bed of roses awash in cash.

One of the only positive's out of all this is, Quebec City has an arena in place already, and if the did not would result in many 100's of millions more to pay out.

This all sounds very depressing but that's the cost of owning a major pro sports franchise even if you're a billionaire. There is only so much money to be spread around.

Before I leave this subject, chances are the American teams making the most will be propping up not just Canadian teams because of the weak Canadian dollar, but further expansion into Las Vegas or Seattle could mean further diminishing of league revenues. Especially if major teams aren't in the black. Like I've said in other articles I've written on league revenues, what if there were no lucrative TV contracts?

Chances are there would not be any expansion.

There are many variables as to whether a market is successful in getting a team. This includes territorial issues for Quebec. If they actually are successful, that is Quebecor—the company which is a huge media and communications conglomerate, in getting a team will most likely have to pay out fees called Indemnity fees. All that is is just a fee for invading someone's territory. That team being the Montreal Canadiens.

Th same would happen if there was another team in the Toronto area. An indemnity fee to the Toronto Maple Leafs of many 10's of millions. If not 100 million. I think that competition is good. What? Has no one heard of competition?

It's done in all kinds of industry. Yet the NHL is worried about their cash cows being slaughtered. I think it's a form of corporate welfare.

There are many variables in applying to become an NHL owner beyond being a billionaire. I think they'll go into Vegas before Quebec which will take longer in the process. As well, a market entrenched already as a hockey mecca would do well, even if the population base is smaller and dedicated.

The NHL seems hell bent on convincing non-hockey towns to conform to becoming NHL fans.

Both Bettman and Daly said that the talent pool in the NHL is better than ever, but I know enough to know if you keep on expanding you'll water down that talent pool eventually.

NHL expansion has to be very carefully done, because Phoenix didn't fare so well, and one of the only reasons it's still there is the cash infusion the owners received from the NHL to the owner Jerry Reinsdorf if I'm correct.

I love NHL hockey and grew up playing ice hockey in a small town in Canada. Whether or not Vegas or Quebec City gets an NHL franchise remains to be seen, and if it's profitable.

Profitability is more important than aligning the divisions with a new franchise and having symmetry number wise in each division, for regular season games, and playoff rivalries. There is also the issue of revenue sharing which gets sliced even further—and if a team loses money that negatively impacts the whole NHL.

In the end successfully bidding and ultimately acquiring an NHL franchise doesn't guarantee a thing.

But being in a hockey based community that can support ticket sales and make the team and community prosper will have a greater effect on society, and the NHL.

Would have been interesting to hear from an actual Vegas Sports book on how viable they think the NHL in coming to Las Vegas would be.

We'll see in the coming months.