Industry News

Seattle ticket launch proves NHL demand

Seattle’s NHL ice hockey fans have shown their passion for bringing an expansion franchise to the city with 25,000 people committing to season tickets in the first two hours of business.

After last month’s announcement that people could begin making refundable deposits for season tickets at beginning on March 1, Oak View Group (OVG) said it surpassed 25,000 ticket commitments in two hours.

By comparison, a similar season-ticket drive to gauge the interest in Las Vegas took two days to reach 5,000 deposits and a month to reach 9,000.

OVG is leading the effort to bring the NHL to Seattle for the 2020 season, with the bid group headed up by billionaire David Bonderman and Hollywood film producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

The ticket payments cost $500 per season ticket or $1,000 for club season tickets, which are located at the centre of the rink on the lower-level.

The ticketing drive is just one step of many required by the league as part of the expansion process, as it looks at the degree of interest in the market.

The application has now been sent to the league, as of last month, in addition to a fee of $10m (€8m/£7.1m).

The NHL has set Seattle an expansion fee of $650m, and the Seattle City Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with OVG that commits the firm to a 39-year lease. This agreement also includes two eight-year renewal options for a total of up to 55 years, with OVG to contribute $600m to the project and cover cost overruns associated with the development.

However, this only forms part of the plan, with OVG having committed to a major redevelopment project at Seattle’s KeyArena. Should the city prove successful in its bid, OVG will spend $600m to renovate the 56-year-old venue, which presently has a capacity of around 18,000, in time for a potential debut season in 2020-21.

OVG has set a provisional start-date for work before the end of the year, with the group hoping to reopen the venue in October 2020.

Image: Tiffany von Arnmin