Hockey Heading Back to the Desert

What does $500 million get you? An NHL franchise.

That’s the amount of money businessman Bill Foley paid in expansion fees to bring a team to Las Vegas, Nevada, starting play in 2017-18. Foley will be the principal owner of the NHL’s 31st franchise. They money will be divided between the other 30 NHL clubs.

The announcement was made by Gary Bettman Wednesday prior to the NHL Awards Show at the Encore at Wynn Las Vegas.

“Our great sports town now has a major league franchise, the NHL,” Foley said. “It’s the best of the leagues. It’s a legendary league. Las Vegas is my home along with 2.3 million other people. We want everyone to be a fan. We’re dedicated to it. We’ll leave no stone unturned in our dedication and our pursuit of hockey here in Las Vegas, not just for our team, but for the community.”

The unnamed franchise doesn’t have a name yet. Foley and his ownership group hope to have a name and logo in place by the start of this season in order to better market the team and push merchandise. Foley loves the name Black Knights, paying homage to his alma mater West Point but will work with the NHL to consider other names.

The team already has an arena to call home as T-Mobile Arena opened two months ago and is located just west of the famed Las Vegas Strip. Their listed capacity for hockey is 17,368. During the application process, Foley spearheaded more than 14,000 deposits for season tickets and has sold all of the luxury seats in T-Mobile Arena over the last 16 months. Just over the last week, they sold roughly 400 more ticket packages according to Foley. He expects that 85-90 percent of the crowd to be season ticket holders.

The arena won’t have to wait that long for NHL hockey as it will host an NHL preseason game on October 7 between the Los Angeles Kings and the Dallas Stars.

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