NHL will reportedly expand to Las Vegas: report

Tue Jun 14, 2016 5:58pm EDT
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(Reuters) - The NHL is reportedly ready to bet on an expansion franchise in Las Vegas, a move that would make the league the first to put a major professional sports team in the resort city known primarily for gambling.

An Associated Press report on Tuesday that was later confirmed by the Las Vegas Review-Journal said putting a team in Las Vegas was a "done deal" after the recommendation of the NHL's executive committee and provided organizers pay a $500 million fee.

Both reports sourced two people who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal the committee's recommendation.

When asked by Reuters to comment on the news of expansion, NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said in an email that the league had no comment and would not confirm the report.

The NHL's Board of Governors are scheduled to meet on June 22 in Las Vegas where they are expected to hold a formal vote on expansion bids from Las Vegas and Quebec City.

The average NHL team is worth $505 million, according to a survey released by Forbes last November.

If owners vote to approve billionaire businessman Bill Foley's bid for a franchise in Las Vegas, it would be the NHL's 31st team and mark the league's first expansion since 2000 when Columbus and Minnesota began play.

"We've grown up," Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman said in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "It’s an exciting step for us but I’m waiting for the Board of Governors to approve it before I start to really celebrate."

Las Vegas and Quebec City were the two cities who submitted official applications for expansion when the NHL opened its formal expansion process last year.   Continued...

Jun 12, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (88) battles for the puck with Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (71) in the third period of game six of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports