Bettman said the expansion fee has been set at $650 million for Seattle, which would become the league's 32nd team, if approved.
Calgary and Arizona are still struggling with arena problems, but the National Hockey League will see how Seattle's ticket drive goes before ever considering relocating one of those teams to Washington state. Bettman also has given potential ownership the opportunity to start a season-ticket drive, according to insider Pierre LeBrun.
He made the announcement after the first day of the board of governors meeting in Manalapan, Fla.
The NHL has agreed to consider a Seattle expansion proposal, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced Thursday. If Seattle franchise works out, the team will not begin playing until the 2020-21 season.
A new arena is now being built in the city with the hope of attracting National Hockey League and NBA teams as its first occupants.
Durkan told reporters Wednesday the deal with Los Angeles-based Oak View Group is the best path for Seattle to get an National Hockey League team and bring back the NBA.
Currently, there are 16 teams in the Eastern Conference and 15 teams in the West.
KeyArena was home to the NBA's SuperSonics for 33 of the franchise's 41 years in Seattle before Clay Bennett's investment group bought the team from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz in 2006 and moved the team to Oklahoma City in 2008. She says it does not block other possible arena projects.
Information from the Associated Press is included in this report.