Billionaire businessman Bill Foley could find out as early as June 22 whether his efforts to bring a National Hockey League (NHL) franchise to Las Vegas have been successful.
According to a report from The Associated Press news service, this is the date the NHL’s Board Of Governors will meet to discuss the possibility of sanctioning an expansion team for either the Nevada metropolis or Quebec City.
Foley is the Chairman of commercial and residential mortgage provider Fidelity National Financial and announced plans to bring an NHL franchise to southern Nevada in February of last year. Since then, his Black Knight Sports And Entertainment entity has received season ticket deposits from over 14,000 people and obtained the NHL’s approval to play in the new 17,500-seat T-Mobile Arena behind the New York-New York Hotel And Casino on The Strip from the 2017/18 season.
However, numerous issues remain including how to share the NHL’s $3.7 billion in annual revenues with one or two more future entities alongside expansion draft, conference alignment, salary cap and competitive balance questions.
Although remaining vague about the sport’s plans, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has stated that the possible relocation of the Oakland Raiders NFL franchise to Las Vegas would have no bearing on his own decision.
“So be it,” Bettman told The Associated Press.
The Associated Press reported that the June 22 meeting will take place at the Hard Rock Hotel And Casino in Las Vegas as part of the annual NHL Awards ceremony and could see the 30 current franchise owners choose to decline expansion, defer their decision to a later date or go ahead with putting one or two new clubs in place.
Nevertheless, Foley’s group remains confident Las Vegas will be awarded a franchise in the near future and recently unveiled plans for a state-of-the-art two-rink practice facility near Summerlin. But, construction cannot begin until the NHL’s intentions are known, which means that any new team would have to start life practicing at the nearby Las Vegas Ice Center or Sobe Ice Arena.
“My number-one priority is to get the team,” Foley recently told the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper. “Everything else will work itself out over time.”