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Steve Carp

Foley gets chance to pitch Las Vegas to NHL owners

29 September 2015

Bill Foley gets to play salesman Tuesday. And it shouldn't be that tough of a sell.

Foley, the billionaire businessman attempting to bring the NHL to Las Vegas, will present his vision for a franchise to the league's 30 owners and commissioner Gary Bettman at a New York hotel Tuesday when the Board of Governors convene for its fall meeting. Foley is expected to make a presentation and answer questions.

The NHL also will hear from the group in Quebec City that is attempting to return to the league after the Nordiques left for Denver in 1995. But the league is not expected to vote on awarding its 31st and 32nd franchises Tuesday. Any announcement will come later this year or in early 2016.

Foley, who has no experience in owning a sports team, hopes to convince the owners that he's worthy of entry into their club that goes beyond writing a check for $500 million, the number Bettman indicated in June it would take to join the NHL.

He'll have a lot to sell.

He will tell the owners about the almost 14,000 deposits on season tickets that have been secured. He'll get them up to speed on the proposed team's new home — the $375 million MGM-AEG arena that will seat 17,500 for hockey and be completed in early April, well in time for the Las Vegas team's expected October 2017 start.

He'll tell them there's an office in Summerlin ready to be fully staffed to house the team's employees. He'll show plans to build a practice facility as well as several rinks across Southern Nevada to grow the game at the grassroots level.

And he'll no doubt remind the owners of the excitement Las Vegas offers as a city, a destination for tourists worldwide and an economy that has bounced back after the recession of 2008-09.

Foley has been through a lengthy vetting process to confirm his financial credentials, as Las Vegas and Quebec City wrap up the third and likely final phase of the NHL's exploration into possibly expanding for the first time since 2000, when Minnesota and Columbus became the 29th and 30th members. He met privately Monday with Bettman, and though he has kept his public comments to a minimum during the process, Foley will get his chance to talk Tuesday.