The National Hockey League is adding a 31st team, and it chose Las Vegas over Quebec City, which will receive the franchise as soon as the 2017-2018 season.
The Associated Press reports that this is a “done deal” so long as organizers pay a $500 million expansion fee.
The NHL board of governors are expected to vote on the expansion June 22.
If everything goes accordingly, the team will play at T-Mobile Arena, which has already received 13,200 season-ticket deposits.
With this addition, the NHL will become the first major professional sports league to have a team in Las Vegas. This could open the door of other sports teams, like the NFL’s Oakland Raiders.
Nate Silver of ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight tweeted that he is “skeptical” that Las Vegas was the right choice.
Still skeptical about Las Vegas as a profitable NHL market, but glad a Big 4 league has gotten past its Vegasphobia. https://t.co/kfXQyctlFy
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) June 14, 2016
This will also be the NHL’s first expansion since the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild joined the league in 2000.
There is still room for even more expansion teams in the NHL, with 16 teams currently in the Eastern Conference, and only 14 in the Western Conference. Las Vegas adds one to the West, leaving one more opening to balance the league.