Bill Foley (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Bill Foley, the prospective owner of the Las Vegas NHL franchise, told media that the season ticket drive has reached over 11,500 season seats with more than 1,500 additional commitments from corporations and in suite sales. Foley added that he would not likely be attending the June Board of Governors meeting where expansion is expected to be discussed.
While his gamble hasn’t exactly paid off quite yet, it appears as if Bill Foley, the prospective owner of a Las Vegas NHL franchise, was right about the hunger for professional sports in Sin City.
The Las Vegas Sun’s Case Keefer reported that, at a media meeting and question and answer period, Foley told those in attendance the potential Las Vegas club has secured more than 11,500 season ticket pledges. Supplementing those sales are another 1,000 seats snatched up by corporations with an additional 735 suite seats sold. That’s well over the initial goal.
“To me, that’s a statement,” Foley said. “Our goal was 10,000, and we’re still selling tickets.”
To continue selling tickets, Foley added that half- and quarter-season packages are now available, which should help the ownership group continue to bolster their season seat numbers. At more than 13,000 total commitments, it’s hard to deny that Foley was right about his group’s ability to get the necessary numbers to prove the support is present for an NHL team.
“Las Vegas has done its job,” Foley said. “Now we’ve presented the information to the league. I’m very confident, but we have to wait for the league to respond.”
In April, ahead of Game 3 between the Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets, commissioner Gary Bettman refused to comment on exactly how many season seats the Las Vegas franchise had sold, but did tell media that Foley’s season-ticket drive was going well.
"What I'm hearing is that the season-ticket drive has gone and is going extraordinarily well," Bettman said. "When we get to the meeting in June I will report to the board as to where things stand based on the expressions of interest and we'll figure out then what, if anything, we want to do.”
As Keefer reported, though, there was more to Foley’s meeting than talk about ticket sales.
It has long been speculated that, should Las Vegas secure a team, they would be entering the league in time for the 2016-17 season. However, Foley told media that he no longer believes that to be the case, saying, “We can’t be ready for (2016) in time.” Instead, Foley stated that it would take an additional year for proper preparations, meaning 2017-18 is a more accurate start date for the club should expansion get the green light from the league.
Regarding expansion, Foley also said he likely wouldn’t be in attendance for the board of governors meeting in Las Vegas next month. Not because he doesn’t want to be there, but rather because he doesn’t believe he’ll be invited. Foley doesn’t sound sour about the lack of invitation, though, telling media he stands, “at the disposal of the league,” but would attend were he invited to the meeting.