The NHL has agreed to expand to Las Vegas, provided that organizers and potential owners can come up with a $500 million expansion fee.
Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman doesn’t think it will be an issue.
“We can do anything here,” Goodman said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “We are a place where it is happening all the time, and i think the name Las Vegas, which has worldwide resonance, will be a call to everybody, ‘Let’s invest in this.’ We see the growth and the potential here.”
Goodman moved from the East Coast to Las Vegas in 1964, when the population was less than 100,000.
“(We) have enjoyed every single day coming from high culture and great background and great sports, and look where we are,” Goodman said. “What a great innovative time to make something happen. I know the passion is there in our city.”
Las Vegas, with a population of roughly 2.1 million, is the largest city in America without a professional sports franchise. It also has, of course, a huge tourism base and is comprised of people with expendable income.
“We want to get involved with the community,” Goodman said.
The franchise, the NHL’s 31st, would begin play in the 2017-18 season. The NHL has not expanded since 2000, when Minnesota and Columbus paid $80 million apiece to join the league.
The NBA and NFL could one day follow suit and put a franchise in Vegas, which begs the question: Why all of the sudden interest in the desert?
“I think it really goes back four or five years ago,” Goodman said. “People came to us to talk about bringing a soccer franchise here. At that time, I think (former NBA) Commissioner (David) Stern was very opposed to (putting an NBA team here) because Nevada was the only gaming state in the country. Now that we’ve seen gaming come in everywhere across this country, (attitudes have changed). Commissioner (Adam) Silver knows we have the Summer League. We have a lot of things happening here. So that was the foundation. So it’s finally kicked in. It takes a time to reach the base route. . . . It’s wonderful to see that (Raiders owner) Mark (Davis) wants to bring the Raiders here if they’re not building up there.”