On Thursday, Bettman and the NHL Board of Governors gave Seattle the green light to start the application process.
The expansion fee for a new team in Seattle will be $650million and would give the National Hockey League a chance to balance the conferences, if the city's expansion application is accepted.
Seattle could become an option for 2020-21, though there are no guarantees the league expands there, Bettman said at the board of governors meeting. League has agreed and will allow a season-ticket drive.
Bill Foley paid a $500 million expansion fee for the Vegas Golden Knights.
What Bettman is asking of Seattle isn't all that different of the Vegas Golden Knights, who are now in their inaugural season and are in second place in the Pacific Division.
Seattle would have a natural rivalry with some of the other teams in the West, particularly those in Western Canada.
The NHL was specific in pointing out that Seattle is likely an expansion team, not a relocation like some had speculated.
Although Seattle has never had an NHL team, the Seattle Metropolitans, who played in the Pacific Coast Hockey Association from 1915-24, won the Stanley Cup in 1917, defeating the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in a best-of-5 series.
Bettman said the group is only looking at Seattle for expansion, leaving Quebec City and Houston alone.
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