Let’s Talk Expansion…No Really


20130222_wild-score_53The NHL is again talking about expanding their league and adding more teams to the mix, this time they are talking about adding a team in Seattle. So, the Super Sonics will be a hockey team now, try to picture Shawn Kemp barreling through a goalie to score a goal. It could happen now. Well not really, but I’m trying to imagine something here, please allow me to indulge myself just a bit.

The NHL has several teams that are under performing financially including some teams in hockey hotbed’s like the Minnesota Wild (who lost $30 million last season). But, of course the NHL will table ideas of relocation *cough* Phoenix Coyotes *cough* in order to add another revenue stream instead. That’s what sport leagues are really all about, forget what you want them to be about, and remember they are all about; the money. Income is key in the NHL and making sure that the league is making money is extremely important for the league’s continued success and growth, I will not argue that. But, what I can argue is that you should make sure that all of your teams are in money-making markets, and that all of your teams are owned by someone other than the league before you add a team. Yes, that’s right the Phoenix Coyotes are still ownerless.

Sure, there have been plenty of people who want to buy the Phoenix Coyotes but each suitor has fallen by the way side due to financial issues. The Ice Arizona group that is trying to buy the team currently is reportedly having financial issues as well, all of this is looming of course, while Gary Bettman is supposedly trying to talk the Board of Governors into adding another NHL Mikkel+Boedker+Nashville+Predators+v+Phoenix+59-sG9N4axklteam. I am re-iterating the same thing because it’s important to remember that while the NHL is posting record growth financial numbers they are still not in the same spot as even the NBA is (every single team owned). On top of that, there have been two work stoppages in the past ten years and you can see why many people may find expansive talk a little bit crazy.

I want the NHL to be in a position to add a team (I’m not saying I want them to actually add one though) but I don’t think that they are there yet. The most important thing for them to do at this current moment is to get an owner for the Phoenix Coyotes. After that, then make sure that all of the teams you have in place are stable financially (I’m looking at you; New Jersey) and once they all are then you can move on to considering adding another team.

But, that’s not the way the NHL works, they are planning to add another team for the 2014-15 season if certain provisions can be in place. What are the provisions you ask? Well thankfully I have the rumored answers to your question. According to the rumor it would cost $275 million just to start the team, the owner would have to be local to Seattle, and of course there would have to be a new stadium built-in downtown Seattle. All of this would have to come together in the course of a year. I am sure that I’m not the only person thinking that this is  a far off dream for Bettman to be going after. But hey, at least the city of Seattle still owns the Super Sonics name, logo, and color scheme.


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