NHL to accept $650 million Seattle expansion application

The arena agreement for Seattle is in place and the NHL said it will accept an expansion application from the city to create a new team.

Seattle City Council approved a $660 million proposal to renovate KeyArena by 2020 and there could be a new NHL franchise ready to fill up the seats when the construction is finished.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman told reporters Thursday the NHL Board of Governors has agreed to accept/consider an expansion application from Seattle and allow billionaire David Bonderman and his group of investors to conduct a season ticket drive.

"It does not mean that we are opening a new expansion process. We will let them make a case and if they also want to try to do a study for selling season tickets, they can," Bettman said.

MORE: Seattle City Council paves way for new NBA, NHL franchise with arena vote

The expansion fee for a new team in Seattle will be $650 million and would give the NHL a chance to balance the conferences, if Seattle's expansion application is accepted. Currently there are 31 NHL franchises with the Western Conference holding 15 and the East having 16. A team in Seattle would it an even 16 in each conference.

The 7-1 Seattle City Council vote on Monday also paved the way for an NBA franchise to immediately return to Seattle. KeyArena was home to the NBA's SuperSonics for 33 of the franchise's 41 years in Seattle before Clay Bennett's investment group bought the team from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in 2006 and moved the team to Oklahoma City in 2008.

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