Usually when a business expands it is doing so well it has no other choice. Sports are usually the same way. The NFL was so overflowing with money and fans Jacksonville and Carolina got franchises, and so did Houston and Cleveland when their teams deserted them.
Baseball did the same thing with Miami, Colorado, Tampa Bay and Arizona, sadly with mixed results. But, that may have been more to do with poor stadiums in both Tampa and Miami. Of course, Miami has since moved into a new stadium, while the Rays are beginning to languish.
The NBA had their shot at expansion with Charlotte, New Orleans, Vancouver (now Memphis), Orlando, Miami and Minnesota. Although Vancouver didn’t work out, once in Memphis all these teams have had some varying degrees of success both on the court and at the box office.
The NHL has expanded as well, to a mixed bag. Minnesota, Columbus, Tampa Bay, Nashville, Anaheim, Florida and Atlanta (Now Winnipeg). While a couple of the franchises have done very well for themselves (Anaheim and Tampa have won Stanley Cups), others have been perennial doormats for the league.
After the lockout of 2012-13, the NHL has struggled to come back. Several teams have moved, with others rumored to do so. Attendance is slowly returning, but losing the ESPN contract really hurt this sport. Yes, NBC and the NHL are in bed together now and that helps. Plus with the announcement recently that NHL Advanced Media will be teaming up with BAM (Baseball Advanced Media), does wonders for the NHL, but you can read here why it is not the greatest deal in the world.
With all that, shouldn’t the NHL make sure it remains viable before it decides to add more teams? Well apparently that makes too much common sense, because the NHL is apparently going to expand. Depending on who you believe, there will be either 2 or 4 new teams added by 2017, the 100th anniversary of the NHL.
The two cities that have passed what is called Phase III of expansion plans are Quebec City and Las Vegas. With this news, it appears that the Nordiques may be back in Canada, and Sin City may have its first professional sports team.
Both cities have been fully vetted by now, and the announcement was made on August 21st, that both had passed the latest round. So if it is just two teams added, these are the two most logical cities to gain those franchises.
But if the rumor of four teams is correct, add Seattle and a 2nd franchise in Toronto to the list.
I think even adding two teams is a huge gamble by the NHL. I know when I think of Vegas, ice is the first thing that comes to mind. Of course, if gambling is your thing, where better to do it than Las Vegas.