Has your head exploded yet? The news roller coaster has nudged my noggin near the point of spontaneous combustion, so I just wanted to make sure the rest of you still have your domes intact.
It's time once again to take a look at where things stand in the pursuit of arenas and franchises. Some situations are coming to an end. Others are just getting started.
Who is bidding?
It's been reported that both Ray Bartoszek intends to submit a Tukwila application for expansion, and that Victor Coleman is both exchanging arena proposals with Chris Hansen and planning to submit papers for that location. Rumors also persist of one or two Bellevue applications.
Variable expansion fee?
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman has said that expansion shouldn't happen for any less than a half billion dollars. I've always assumed that each successful bidder would have to pay identical fees. TheHockeyNews.com theorizes differently.
Whichever city or cities the NHL chooses in addition to the slam-dunk that appears to be Las Vegas, it's going to be an exorbitant amount of money to get into the club. But it's pretty clear that a team in the Greater Toronto Area would be worth much more than in Quebec City, hence the possibility that the expansion fee would be greater. In fact, it's believed that if Toronto were to get an expansion team, the fee would be somewhere in the $600 million range - which, contrary to popular belief, would include an indemnity payment to the Toronto Maple Leafs - but might be somewhere in the $350 million to $450 million range for Quebec City.
Conversely, Las Vegas wants in the NHL badly and the team will be owned by a billionaire, so the price tag there might be closer to $500 million, whereas Seattle, a place where the NHL would like to place a team, might be in the neighborhood of how much it would cost Quebec City to get a team.
So it might cost Seattle less than Las Vegas to get a team? I'd go for that, though I doubt my colleagues at the Vegas Hockey Podcast would be amused.
If you are wondering how the league can legitimately charge so much for a new team, consider the following tweet about the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Worth watching in #NHL Expansion discussion...Report suggests Pittsburgh Penguins could sell for $700-$850 million: http://t.co/UpvPdaE8ZG— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) July 14, 2015
Milwaukee situation at an end
It looks like congratulations will be in order for fans of the Milwaukee Bucks.
BREAKING: Senator Lena Taylor says a deal is done. The Bucks Arena plan will pass state senate tomorrow.— Ben Handelman (@BenHandelman) July 15, 2015
Those who have closely followed the situation know that the Wisconsin Senate is considered to be the biggest roadblock to the arena, and that Senator Taylor was considered one of the largest roadblocks in the Senate. Every remaining step in the process is likely a formality.
This isn't the best news for us, but I am happy for the fans in Milwaukee. Save Our Bucks did a great job of mobilizing those fans to call their representatives.
So with the Bucks situation seemingly resolved, what now for Seattle's NBA hopes? Frankly, if the Bucks are able to get an arena deal done in that state and in that political climate, it's difficult to imagine any NBA franchise relocating in the next ... well ... ever. In my mind, expansion is the only thing worth keeping track of from here on out.
Unfortunately for us, that possibility doesn't seem imminent. League commissioner Adam Silver was asked about it during a Tuesday press conference.
Silver on ultimate issue for LV or SEA in regards to potential expansion, "We’re just not in expansion mode."— Aaron Bruski (@aaronbruski) July 15, 2015
#NBA RT @spearsnbayahoo: Adam Silver says expansion is not in the NBA's plan "at the moment."— Chris Daniels (@ChrisDaniels5) July 15, 2015
On the bright side, "at the moment" is a slight upgrade in narrative over the "foreseeable future" that Silver has offered us for the last several months. At the same time, "now, it's time to address the Seattle situation" would have been more pleasant to the ears.
I don't just say this because I've become a hockey fan over the last year or so; I say it because I believe it to be true: It's looking more and more like an NHL franchise is our quickest path to building an arena.