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Oil Prices May Be Stalling Expansion Decision

As the days pass and no decision has been reached on expansion we are left continuing to wonder what are the reasons for the holdup.

Last week there was a “special meeting” that took place to discuss the expansion process and sources indicated that the sticking point is more to do with the draft than the viability of the two candidates.

A new problem may have surfaced though and one that could be crippling to Quebec City’s bid.

The Canadian dollar, or the ‘loonie’, has already slipped below 70 cents on the U.S. dollar for the first time since 2003. Oil is at the heart of this problem, as a large part of Canada’s U.S. dollar income comes from energy industry exports, mostly crude oil. Almost always, when oil falls, the Canadian position against the dollar does the same. – Julianne Geiger, OilPrice.com

You can click through to that link to read more, but the basic premise is that as the Canadian loonie falls hockey takes a hit.

While it could be read as a reason for the league to hit the pause button completely on expansion, it could just as easily be interpreted as a reason for the NHL to continue growing its footprint in America to further themselves from the volatility of the loonie.

Las Vegas offers an opportunity for the league to build a city that’s currently a professional sports wasteland into a hockey hotbed. It’s a city that attracts money from all over the globe that could be going to the NHL rather than to Cirque du Soleil. And finally, Las Vegas would become the league’s 24th American franchise meaning the league would comprise of only 23% Canadian franchises.

More American franchises means more US Dollars being introduced, higher American TV ratings, and more hockey fans consuming the NHL in the United States.

Canada will always be important for the league in many ways, but the less the NHL has to rely on the Canadian dollar the better. Las Vegas offers it, unfortunately for Quebec, it does not.

Carolina Hurricanes Need To Move, But Not Here

I long for the days when I can just second guess The Creator’s General Manager or when I can play Head Coach and suggest line changes. That would be easy. Instead, we have been forced to play a year long game of charades where Las Vegas has been left to guess the body language of the NHL Commissioner, Gary Bettman, mostly because we know about as much after a Bettman press conference as we did before it started. Until Gary learns how to use his words we are left to speculate.

This brings me to latest rumblings that the Carolina Hurricanes are moving to Las Vegas in time for next season. The news is coming just days before the NHL’s Executive Committee are to meet at a not so “secret” meeting in New York. A meeting that Hurricane owner, Peter Karmanos, will attend. It’s not inconceivable that this could happen considering how many hurdles this wave of expansion presents over the last wave additions in 2000. Not inconceivable but about as likely the Arizona Coyotes making Southern Nevada home next season, another hot rumor that was just that.

Inevitably the Hurricanes move has to happen if things don’t change quickly, but why wouldn’t they move them to Quebec who financially needs a team who are closer to winning more than Las Vegas does. Our city is perfectly happy to go through the growing pains with our new team as long as we feel the goal of winning is the end game. Let’s be honest, we’d much rather create our own culture with our own team.

The Hurricanes will have to move and soon if they continue to fill only 61% of their building. Karmanos has already tried to sell off part of his team which no one wants anything to do with. That really tells you a lot about the state and perception of the organization. The Canes lost 1.3 million in the fiscal year ending last June. It’s easy to speculate that Karmanos would love the 17 million that an expansion team would bring to each NHL franchise, money the owners do not have to share with the players. With a debt to value ratio of only 53% it’s almost a necessity that Karmanos gets expansion money now and moves the team later.

I’ve seen nothing to change my mind that Las Vegas will get an expansion team and Quebec eventually gets the Hurricanes.

Crystal Ball Says NHL Coming To Vegas Soon

Fortune Magazine, the world leader in sports prognostication, has some good news for those of us hoping and praying for an NHL franchise in Las Vegas.

It’s no secret the NHL is looking to expand, capitalizing on a popularity surge that drove growth in revenue from $2.2 billion in 2006 to around $4 billion in the 2013-14 season. Earlier this year, the league got expansion applications from Las Vegas and Quebec City. But expect the league to approve just one new team, to be located in Sin City, for a record expansion fee of $500 million. The league is likely to want to add teams in the West to balance the league’s geography. -Ben Geier

As mentioned above, they aren’t exactly the most reliable source when it comes sports news (aside from franchise valuations), but it’s nice to see more and more people jumping aboard.

Years ago, and in some cases months ago, you were about as likely to find a pro hockey in Vegas article as you were to find an anti one. Since the last Board of Governors meeting though it’s been overwhelmingly positive when it comes to hockey in the valley.

Quebec City on the other hand is starting to lose its luster apparently.

Nous sommes désolés, amis du Québec -Ben Geier

I honestly haven’t the slightest clue what that says, but I have a feeling it’s not something my Canadian friends want to hear.

Oh well, too bad. No time to feel bad, the crystal ball says we are getting a team!

NHL Considering Just One Expansion Team

For much of the NHL expansion application process it’s been regularly considered that if the league does indeed decide to go ahead and grow, they would do so in both Las Vegas and Quebec City.

However, our friends at TheFourthPeriod.com have heard some buzz that may challenge that narrative.

Word on the NHL street is that the League may only be expanding to one market this time around, and it doesn’t sound like Quebec City is the frontrunner. There is legitimate concern across the NHL over the sinking Canadian dollar. -David Pagnotta, The Fourth Period

Here at SinBin.vegas we are not a hateful people, we really aren’t. But…

YES!!!!!!!!!!! WE WILL TAKE IT!!!!!!

Sorry Canada.

Speaking to several very high-up, in-the-know people in the NHL circle, from both ends of the spectrum, the sentiment is that Las Vegas will be awarded an NHL franchise once all is said and done

Obviously the waiting game will have to continue for now, but this is spectacular news from a very well respected (Canadian) source.

The NHL wants to be in Las Vegas, make no mistake. But it all has to make sense. It’ll all play out in the New Year, mind you. And as I’ve been told numerous times in the last 12 hours, anything can change.

In a word. Score!

Bettman Kissing Seattle’s Emeralds, Vegas Waits

We’ve said it before, the deadline was July 20th, 2015. That was the day that cities in North America were to show that they had interest in the National Hockey League coming to their city in which a check for $10 million would accompany their application. Only Las Vegas and Quebec City met this requirement. No one else, including Seattle, submitted a bid but we will are hearing that the league is still waiting on Seattle because in the world of common sense it makes sense. Sometime in January, Seattle will vote on whether or not to give Chris Hansen the go ahead to put a shovel in the ground to make the Sodo Arena a reality. The problem is the bond that would assist Hansen in building an arena is to only be used for a NBA franchise. This ultimately could force Hansen to build his arena with private funds or not at all. It’s becoming clear to me that the NHL would prefer two teams in the West, Vegas and Seattle while Quebec would be a landing spot for a team to relocate. In reality this makes sense and it doesn’t mean Vegas would have to wait for Seattle to build their barn.

As for who would be moving, that crystal clear as well. The Arizona Coyotes have shown some improvement in attendance and should remain that way as long as the team stays in contention for a playoff spot. The Florida Panthers have averaged 900 more fans per game this season so the arrow is pointing in the right direction there too, leaving one franchise that is obviously going to struggle if something isn’t done, the Carolina Hurricanes.

In 2006-2007, Carolina averaged well over 17,000 fans per game , filling 92% of their arena. Granted this was the year after their Stanley Cup win in 2005 when they beat the Edmonton Oilers. Now we fast forward to 2015, they can barely fill half their building, settling in dead last, by a wide margin, in league attendance. I suppose this will happen when you’ve missed the playoffs six straight years and are destined for a seventh.

I feel strongly that there will be some sort of an announcement at the All Star Break. The league will have all their presentations and phases of expansion out of the way and the vote in Seattle would have taken place. It will be a year since Las Vegas started selling season tickets to a population that people doubted would sell 5,000 let alone 14,000. We met the deadline in respect the National Hockey League’s deadline. Now it’s time for them to respect us with an answer, January 31st, at the All-Star Game.

Revenue Sharing Could Be Major Reason For Delay

Every day that passes I seem to grow more and more impatient wondering why it’s taking so long for any concrete information to come out of the NHL regarding expansion.

We’ve heard the rumors, both good and bad, but the only true info we ever seem to get is Gary Bettman saying, hang in there.

The latest in the long line of possible reasons for the announcement delay is a bit different from any we’ve heard before.

There’s concern amongst some of the larger market teams that, in four years, Las Vegas and Quebec City will be among those teams that will reap the benefits of revenue sharing. That means those with higher revenues are going to have to pay more money into the pot. –Bruce Garrioch, Ottawa Sun

In other words, the richest owners are afraid that adding the new teams will eventually cause them to lose money as they’ll have more owners to share their profits with under the NHL’s revenue sharing system.

Our friends at NHLNordiques.com came up with three ways the league might handle this issue.

  • The NHL decides to stop the expansion process
  • The NHL strongest top 3 markets get a bigger share of the expansion fee
  • The Expansion have to pay more than $500M

The interesting question, and the one The Creator and Quebecor must prove to the league is, “Will these new franchises indeed qualify for revenue sharing?”

We obviously do not have the answer to this question, nor the other major one involving money and expansion.

Will the addition of two teams help the league grow enough to offset the difference between the $1 billion expansion fee and possible revenue sharing dollars?

Again, we have no way of answering these questions.

However, we are sure of one thing. The Creator is not going to let money get in the way of bringing a team to Las Vegas. We are confident that he’ll do whatever is necessary to make it happen, even if he has to make some sacrifices on top of the $500 mil.

It’s just another of the seemingly countless number of hurdles standing in our way.

But like the rest of them…revenue sharing

In the end, revenue sharing won’t stand in the way of expansion but it might be delaying it a bit. – Bruce Garrioch, Ottawa Sun

In the mean time, I guess we’ll just have to keep tweeting everyone’s favorite hashtag.

#GiveUsOurDamnTeam

SinBin.vegas Podcast #1: NHL Expansion w/ Carl Dombrowski

The first ever SinBin.vegas Podcast, hosted by Ken Boehlke.

Ken and Carl discuss NHL Expansion in Las Vegas and Quebec. Here are the highlights.

  • A quick intro to the podcast and the background on Ken’s “journey” as a hockey fan.
  • A breakdown of each owner’s likely vote on expansion based on financials (find the article referred to here).
  • Is Seattle a friend or a foe of LV and QC when it comes to expansion?
  • Percentage chance of a team in Vegas and Quebec.
  • How would each city react if the league chooses NOT to award expansion franchises.
  • Ken learns a word in French to help describe an NHL owner.

And much more…

We are on iTunes as well as Stitcher. Subscribe now!

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