Fans looking to secure season tickets for the potential NHL franchise in Las Vegas will be asked to lay down deposits ranging from $150 to $900, Sportsnet has learned.
The ticket drive is scheduled to get underway on Tuesday and will go a long way to determining whether the city is awarded a team.
Prospective owner Bill Foley, who is partnering with the Maloof brothers, has set a goal of at least 10,000 deposits to show that Las Vegas is a viable hockey market. The NHL board of governors will be monitoring the results closely after granting Foley permission to conduct the ticket drive at their meeting in December.
“We’ll all get a strong indication early as to whether this is going to be something that’s embraced or whether it’s not,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said during the recent all-star weekend.
“I’m curious. I don’t have (a gut feeling) to tell you the truth. I see good indicators that it’ll be successful, but until people are asked to put their money up… none of us will know.”
The Vegas tickets range in price from $20 to $220 per game and deposits will carry one-, three-, five- and 10-year terms. In December, Foley told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman that he promised the NHL he'd keep his average seat at $65, which is roughly the current midpoint league-wide.
Foley has been busy in recent weeks, bringing together an influential group called the “Las Vegas Founding 75″ — Canadian poker player Daniel Negreanu is among them — with each member committing to helping sell 60 deposits.
The next step is definitively proving that a base group of fans exists in a city known almost exclusively for tourism. No big-league pro sports team has ever previously called Las Vegas home.
The deposits are in line with what fans in Winnipeg had to shell out prior to the arrival of the Jets from Atlanta in 2011. True North Sports and Entertainment collected between $500 and $1000 per seat, depending on the section, and reached its goal of 13,000 season tickets in a matter of minutes.
However, it had a big advantage Las Vegas won’t enjoy.
“It was quick,” said Daly. “Having said that, they had a structure and they had a built-in fanbase. They were really going to (AHL Manitoba) Moose season-ticket holders and that was already a large number of people.”
A firm timeline for taking deposits in Las Vegas hasn’t been set, although a welcome email registrants at vegaswantshockey.com get from Foley says it will occur over the next “several months.”
The money will be fully refunded should the group fail to secure a team for the 2016-17 season — although that won’t be an issue as long as the season-ticket drive is a success.