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Ice Hockey in the Desert?
“Selling ice to Eskimos” — that’s what people say when they’re talking about making a hard sale.
At Loeb, we know that bringing ice to the desert can be a much harder — and more rewarding — deal to close.
In fact, we helped bring both the ice and the team to play on it — the NHL’s newest expansion team, the Vegas Golden Knights — to Las Vegas.
We were involved from the very beginning, initially serving as matchmaker for the two parties who would come together to form the ownership group. Acting on behalf of majority owner Bill Foley, we structured the ownership entity and helped navigate the NHL’s rigorous expansion application process.
Securing the franchise for the NHL’s 31st team meant convincing the league that Las Vegas — one of the largest U.S. markets without a professional sports franchise — could successfully support an ice hockey team with both a sizable fan base and a state-of-the-art arena.
Not an easy task, but our client was committed — and so were we.
Securing the franchise meant convincing the league that Las Vegas could successfully support an ice hockey team with both a sizable fan base and a state-of-the-art arena.
We brought the ice first, helping negotiate the lease for the team to become the anchor tenant at the future T-Mobile Arena, a state-of-the-art new venue just off the Las Vegas Strip.
Then we brought the team. The NHL needed to see that a robust fan base existed, so we commissioned a market study that persuaded the league to green-light a season ticket deposit drive.
It seemed like another impossible pitch — getting 10,000 full-season deposits for an as-yet-unnamed pro hockey team that didn’t even exist to play in an arena that had only broken ground. Our client maxed out within six weeks of launching the drive.
Once the NHL voted unanimously to approve the expansion franchise, our clients dug into building and marketing the team. Loeb has been right there with them, helping negotiate media rights arrangements, structuring premium suite deals and corporate sponsorships, and negotiating a variety of other transactions and arrangements for the Vegas Golden Knights’ inaugural season.