On June 22nd, the NHL’s board of governors unanimously approved expanding the franchise to Las Vegas making the currently unnamed team the 31st team in the league. The franchise will play in the Pacific Division and the current NHL playoff structure will not change.
The next move for the team will be announcing a General Manager and the rest of an operating staff. These tasks lie on the shoulders of Bill Foley who paid a $500 million expansion fee to bring the team to Vegas – which could end up not paying off depending on how the sport catches on in Sin City.
The team will begin play during the 2017-2018 season and has already accepted 14,000 season-ticket deposits and sold out all 44 suites at the T-Mobile Arena, which has a hockey capacity of 17,500. Foley sounded quite confident when it came to ticket sales, "We won't sell out every game with season-ticket holders, but I believe it's going to be 85 percent, 90 percent [of the seats filled by season ticket holders.”
There will be issues when it comes to the local gaming community and whether or not bets will be allowed for the local Vegas team. There is also the concern of long term interest of the sport in Vegas, and the possible oversaturation of professional sports in a small area. The last one is probably the most concerning for the NFL, especially if an NFL and NBA franchise eventually come to Vegas and grabs the headlines.
However, currently hockey fans in Vegas can enjoy their new franchise.