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Seattle is ahead of Vegas NHL timeline

We will not hear about the Seattle application from the NHL Board of Governors meeting next week. Gary Bettman made that perfectly clear when he addressed the media before the Stanley Cup Final began a couple weeks ago.

“The fact is and I know there has been a lot of speculation that somehow there is going to be a vote of some sort, conditional or otherwise at the June board meeting. That is absolutely not true. There will be an update. There is a process that we go through and that question we got frequently while we were going through the process with Las Vegas. There are a number of bases we have to touch, a lot of due diligence that has to be done. A lot of interaction with the prospective ownership group, David Bonderman’s group. We think we are on target and depending how everything goes, it wouldn’t surprise me that there is a possibility that in the fall, early winter at the latest, that this could be addressed by the board. But we are not there yet and there is still work that needs to be done.” – Gary Bettman

A lot of folks seemed to be upset about this implied delay and I had to remind folks that we are ahead of the Vegas franchise announcement dates.

It would appear our next milestone could be the Board of Governors meeting before the 2018-19 season in late September or early October in which they could award Seattle the franchise. Based on the comparable milestone in the Vegas timeline, Seattle would be about 9 months ahead of the time when Vegas was awarded their franchise before puck drop. That would be a full 2 years before the target inaugural season for a Seattle franchise versus the 15-month lead time the Vegas franchise was given before their inaugural season. However, Vegas had a fully built arena already. This leads me to the difficulty in comparing timelines between Vegas and predicting what will happen for Seattle.

Apples and Oranges

To date the different milestone dates haven’t been similar:

  1. Vegas had a ticket drive before the ownership group submitted their application to the league.  For Seattle, the ticket drive was conducted after the Expansion application was submitted.
  2. In Vegas, T-Mobile arena had broken ground well before the NHL expansion application was submitted to the league. In Seattle, the City approved a Memorandum of Understanding for the redevelopment of the KeyArena site, but we have yet to break ground as we go through the permitting process.

Because of these differences in process, it is hard to compare Seattle with Vegas. It would appear we have some time, but I believe the most critical path milestone we have in our timeline is breaking ground on the arena. In order to do that, we need the contracts, permitting, and other entitlements completed. Based on the last City Council briefing, these are targeted for September…which aligns pretty well for the next Board of Governors meeting.

John Barr
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