NHL expansion fees could save Arizona Coyotes from relocation
The NHL has long supported the Arizona Coyotes in Arizona, but worries about the team's long-term future in the state took another big hit when Tempe voters rejected a new arena for the team last week.
One writer recently shed some light on a reason why the NHL might continue to be so staunch in its support of hockey in the desert, however, writing that the league likely wouldn't be eager to relocate the Coyotes because of the potential loss in expansion fees in that city.
"The future of the Coyotes franchise is in the same flux it has been since the team moved to Glendale, Ariz., in 2003, remaining the constant drain on hockey-related revenues it has been with the commissioner’s unwavering and zealous support for two decades," the New York Post's Larry Brooks wrote. "This is Gary’s Folly. And no, the league will not leap to relocate the franchise when doing so might eliminate a potential expansion destination that could produce an entry fee of between $750 million and $1 billion that would be shared exclusively among the owners."
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Puckreport.com has a list of expansion fees for new NHL teams and the cost of the two most recent ones is staggering when compared to previous fees.
In 2017, the Vegas Golden Knights' expansion fee was $500 million. In 2021, the Seattle Kraken's was $650 million.
The two expansion clubs before that, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild in 2000, were just $80 million.
So maybe $1 billion for whenever the next NHL expansion city is announced is not out of the question.
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Houston, Kansas City, Salt Lake City and Milwaukee are some of the locations that have come up in Coyotes relocation speculation and some hockey fans in those cities are starved for a team.
Brooks' report at least gives some hope to Coyotes fans that those cities will not get an NHL club at Arizona's expense.
So does this statement from the Coyotes after voters rejected a new arena for the team in Tempe last week: "We remain committed to Arizona and have already started re-engaging with local officials and sites to solidify a new permanent home in the Valley. We look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks."
Coyotes fans mired in speculation about potentially losing their team will cling to any good news they can get.
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Reach Jeremy Cluff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.
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This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Why Arizona Coyotes could be saved from NHL relocation