The National Hockey League’s board of governors unanimously voted Tuesday to approve a Seattle-based expansion franchise that will become the league’s 32nd team in 2021.
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An ownership group that includes TPG Capital CEO David Bonderman and movie producer Jerry Bruckheimer will pay a $650 million expansion fee to join the NHL, the league said. That figure dwarfs the previous record $500 million paid by the Vegas Golden Knights ownership group before their 2017-18 debut season.
The Seattle franchise has yet to be named. It will play home games at the Seattle Center Arena, formerly known as the KeyArena, which is undergoing $700 million in renovations.
The NHL’s newest franchise will join Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners and the WNBA’s Seattle Storm in the city. The team will look to build on the success of the Golden Knights, which became the first NHL expansion team to reach the Stanley Cup Finals last season.
The Seattle franchise had already secured deposits from 25,000 would-be season ticketholders as of last March, ESPN reported. The average NHL franchise was worth $594 million as of last December, according to Forbes, up 15 percent compared to the previous year.