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Bill Foley gambling that Golden Knights will resonate beyond Vegas: 'We can be the team of the Rockies'

HITEFISH, Montana -- A thousand Adidas Matthew O'Connor Womens Jersey miles north of Las Vegas, the NHL's newest owner, Bill Foley, sits in a conference room overlooking powder blue mountains. While many associate the Vegas Golden Knights with a flashy arena, glittery attractions and all the other temptations Vegas has to offer, this laid-back resort town -- just one hour from the Canadian border -- is Golden Knight territory, too. So, it turns out, is the rest of Montana, Idaho, Utah and Wyoming -- and even slivers of Arizona and California. That area comprises the authorized distribution area for Golden Knights http://www.authenticottawasenators.com/authentic-matthew-oconnor-je... television broadcasts. "There's no professional sports team that attacks that marketplace, that's involved in that marketplace," Foley says. "So we can be the team of the Rockies, the professional sports team of the Rockies." The Knights sent off a caravan this week to explore the fresh terrain and engage with newly-converted fans. During a pit stop, Foley spoke with ESPN in a wide-ranging interview that covered everything from ticket sales, to sharing the stage with the NFL's Raiders to further NHL expansion. ESPN.com: How do you plan to embrace the fun in Vegas? Foley: Our game-day presentations are going to be really awesome. We're going to start an hour and a half before the game because we want to make sure people Adidas Lanny McDonald Womens Jerseycan get there conveniently. Parking is always a problem in Las Vegas and we're going to be bringing 17,000 people into one location. So we have all kinds of events planned pregame, during the game and postgame. A lot of it is going to be related to the Knight culture and the Golden Knights -- who we are and what we're all about. You'll see Knights skating on the ice and doing all kinds of interesting things. ESPN.com: How much are you willing to market to fans of the visiting teams that are coming in? Foley: We're focusing on our core fan base. The Detroit Red Wings fans, the Chicago Blackhawks fans -- we welcome them to Las Vegas. If those fans want to buy tickets, they're going to pay for them. Because we've already sold so many tickets, we're going to be selling those tickets at premium values. They can come to Vegas and have a good time and enjoy themselves, then hopefully see their team lose. ESPN.com: You recently told Forbes you were in the "top five, six or seven" in the league in terms of ticket revenue. That surprised a http://www.authentictorontomapleleafs.com/authentic-lanny-mcdonald-... lot of people. Can you expand on that? Foley: We had a budget of what we were trying to accomplish in terms of game-day revenue, and we believe we are in the top third of the league. We've basically sold out; we're now selling single-game tickets at premium values. Every suite is sold. We're maxed-out on season tickets. We can't sell anymore. We've done well, really well. That probably does surprise people because when they think of Las Vegas, they think of the Strip. But what Vegas has been looking for the last 15, 20 years is an identity -- an identity other than the Strip. We give the local residents an identity. We are the local team of Las Vegas: the Vegas Golden Knights. ESPN.com: Speaking of Vegas sports teams ... you had Authentic Zemgus Girgensons Youth Jersey some interesting comments after the Raiders announced they were relocating from Oakland to Las Vegas. You were critical of the amount of taxpayer money spent [a record $750 million public subsidy will help finance the Raiders' new $1.9 billion stadium, while Foley shelled out $500 million of his own money for a league expansion fee and then financed the Knights' new arena without a public subsidy], but it also sounded like you wanted to be the only pro team in town. Has your attitude changed at all? Foley: Hopefully I'm mature enough to understand that if I can't control something or change it, get out of the way. I think it's great that the Raiders are coming. I wouldn't spend taxpayers' money in the way it was spent, but the people in charge decided to spend it in that way. I hope the Raiders are successful. I don't view them as competition http://www.officialbuffalosabres.com/Adidas-Zemgus-Girgensons-Jersey for us. I felt like when they said they were coming that maybe it would affect our season ticket sales a bit or our sponsors, but it really hasn't. We have a different base we're marketing to. We have some really good players, but we're not deep like a lot of teams are in terms of four lines of forwards and two or three lines of defensemen. But we got some really good players in the expansion draft. So we just need do well for a couple years, then make the playoffs in three years as we start transitioning in some of these younger guys -- like Shea Theodore and Alex Tuch and Jake Bischoff. We'll be pretty good in three years and we'll make a run in five or six.

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