Seattle NHL bid takes 33K season ticket deposits in under 48 hours, waitlist started for shutout fans

If Seattle scores an NHL team, it won't be the city's first run at pro hockey. The Seattle Metropolitans hoisted the Stanley Cup in 1917.
If Seattle scores an NHL team, it won't be the city's first run at pro hockey. The Seattle Metropolitans hoisted the Stanley Cup in 1917.

There’s no longer any question about it, Seattleites are hungry for an NHL team.

And based on their response to a season ticket drive, they may just score.

A group looking to bring an expansion team to the city for the 2020-2021 season has stopped accepting deposits for season tickets, after selling 33,000 between Thursday morning and Friday afternoon.

Fans were asked to shell out a deposit of $500 per ticket and $1,000 per club ticket.

The Oak View Group has now started a waitlist for fans who were shut out.

READ MORE: Sorry, Quebec City: Loonie, geography blamed for NHL team deferral

A season-ticket drive is a key step for organizations looking to snag a pro team, and is required by the NHL as a part of the expansion process as a way to gauge interest in the market.

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By that measure, Seattle has blown the NHL’s most recent expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, out of the water.

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Las Vegas launched its season ticket drive in February 2015; the team took about 5,000 deposits in two days, and took the remainder of the month to reach 9,000.

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Seattle, by comparison, took 10,000 deposits in just 12 minutes, according to the team’s proponents.


“Thank you, Seattle!” the group tweeted Friday night after closing deposits, including a link to where a wait list was activated Saturday morning.

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The group proposing the team, led by Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer, private equity CEO David Bonderman and Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke, got the green light from the NHL to file for an expansion in December.

Seattle’s expansion fee is set at US$650 million, $150 million more than Bill Foley paid for the Las Vegas Golden Knights expansion.

An artist’s rendering of the renovated KeyArena hosting an NHL game. Oak View Group

Despite the high season-ticket pre-sales, one Vancouver-based ticket broker says fans north of the border shouldn’t be worried if they want to catch a game in the Emerald city.

Kingsley Bailey with Vancouver Ticket and Tour Service says there will be a chance for everyone to catch a game.

“Just like anything else, there are always a certain number of tickets available to the general public. And not everyone can go to 41 games,” he said.

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“It’s a great rivalry. All you’ve got to do is drive down the road and you can watch your team play the Seattle team. I think it’s great. You look at it when you see the Canadians go down and watch a Blue Jays game and you’re in the stands in Safeco Field. And all of a sudden, you think you’re in Toronto.”

The Oak View Group has an agreement with the city to spend $600 million renovating the KeyArena, a former home of the NBA Seattle SuperSonics, according to the NHL. It is slated for a 2020 completion, and proponents hope to attract both an NHL and NBA team to the facility.

The NHL has yet to approve Seattle’s expansion. If approved, it wouldn’t be Seattle’s first run at professional hockey. The Seattle Metropolitans, who played in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association between 1915 and 1924 actually hoisted the Stanley Cup in 1917.

With files from the Canadian Press, Kyle Benning and Jessica Vomiero

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