3rd Time's a Charm in This city? Gary Bettman thinks so

Published September 13, 2023 at 2:04

It would be round number 3 in Atlanta, Georgia if the league manages to place another franchise there. The former home of the Atlanta Flames and Atlanta Thrashers faced significant challenges.

Bill Daly, however, is optimistic that the NHL will expand there soon despite Bettman saying that expansion isn't a priority right now.

Third time's a charm? Why the NHL believes an expansion team in Atlanta will work.

Considering Seattle and Vegas' recent expansions, there is an increasing demand for hockey team owners.

It wasn't long before the Golden Knights stumbled into financial success with a Stanley Cup Finals appearance in their first year. It was during their second year in the league that the Kraken achieved success on ice.

"I think some of the challenges that we've seen in the past in Atlanta can be overcome," Daly told ESPN at the NHL/NHLPA player media tour on Tuesday.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said that expansion isn't currently a priority for the league.

"Having said that, particularly with the success of the Vegas and Seattle expansions, there are more people who want to own professional hockey teams," Daly said.

Having revamped expansion rules that have benefited teams, and with the NHL's open door policy to team ownership, there is potential for expansion, which will be taken into consideration by the league and governors. In other words, expansion remains a possibility.

"I think times have changed pretty dramatically and the market demographics have changed pretty dramatically since the first time we went there and then again in 1999," he said. "I think a lot of bigger businesses are in Atlanta [now]."

Speculation has been swirling lately about ownership in Atlanta taking the team to the suburbs, like Alpharetta or Forsyth county, as an option.

For the NHL's newest expansion in Atlanta, Daly suggests location is a major factor, as well as changes in the market demographics.

As an example of how location affects everything, Daly pointed to the Braves, which had a successful team on the field but abysmal attendance.

This is the league's major sticking point in the city right now.

"I also think that rink location will be important with any decision to locate a franchise in Atlanta," Daly said. "I think if you use the Braves as an example, they struggled, as I understand it, attendance-wise for years, even though they had a very successful team on the field. Their latest stadium is in a perfect location and sells out regularly."
September 13   |   325 answers
3rd Time's a Charm in This city? Gary Bettman thinks so

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