Quebecor Inc. (TSX:QBR.B) has entered the running for an NHL expansion team.
The media company wrote on its Twitter account that it submitted its “candidacy for the NHL expansion process in order to bring the Nordiques back to Quebec City.”
Quebec City and Las Vegas are believed to be the only cities that submitted official bids before Monday’s deadline.
The NHL announced last month it was opening the formal expansion process. The application process began July 6.
Each expansion bid costs US$10 million. Deputy commissioner Bill Daly confirmed a portion of that is non-refundable, reportedly $2 million.
Quebec City has not had an NHL team since the Nordiques left for Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche in 1995.
Quebecor manages and owns the naming rights for the city’s new publicly funded 18,259-seat Videotron Arena. It’s among several groups that has expressed interest in an expansion franchise, along with Las Vegas, Seattle and others.
Las Vegas is the top candidate for expansion with prospective owner Bill Foley, whose season-ticket drive received almost 14,000 deposits. A spokeswoman told The Canadian Press a bid was filed under Black Knight Sports and Entertainment, LLC.
A state-of-the-art arena is under construction on the strip and is set to open next spring.
The NHL has said the earliest any expansion would happen is the 2017-18 season.
There are 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and 14 in the West, which would seem to make Las Vegas and potentially Seattle favourites for expansion. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said geography is an issue but not the determining factor.
According to reports out of Seattle, none of the potential owners submitted an expansion bid.
Quebecor president and CEO Pierre Dion said last month at the NHL draft that the group and city possessed “all the ingredients” for NHL expansion.
The NHL has a relationship with Quebecor through its French-language television-rights deal with TVA Sports.
Bettman and Daly projected the price of an expansion franchise at a minimum of $500 million.
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version reported that Quebecor owned the arena.