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SBD/January 6, 2012/Events and Attractions
Hockey Writers Share Thoughts On Future Of NHL's Winter Classic
Published January 6, 2012
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CONCERNS ABOUT RATINGS: The TV rating on NBC for the Rangers-Flyers game likely did not hit the numbers the NHL was hoping for Monday. The game drew a 2.1 fast national rating, tying it with the ’10 edition as the lowest-rated Winter Classic contest in the event’s five-year history. The game still ranks as the fifth most-viewed regular-season game since '75, but Seravalli wonders if the event's appeal has begun to fade. “The NHL paired Philadelphia and New York, two out of the top four media markets and two of arguably the best sports towns in America, together and were expecting a ratings bonanza,” he said. “Instead, the NHL found that there is no longer a ton of mystique surrounding two teams playing outside. It has been done before. The outdoor 'spectacle' notion of this event is fleeting.”
DETROIT NEXT? Rumors have circulated that the Red Wings will be the next team to host the game. LeBrun said, “Detroit, an Original Six club with avid fan base, would be a great choice for next year.” He said he would also like to see games in Minnesota, Denver and Yankee Stadium, once the Pinstripe Bowl’s contract at the venue expires. LeBrun noted the Maple Leafs have their 100th anniversary celebration "coming up in four-five years (and) I think a game in Toronto would make sense.” When choosing venues, the Boston Globe’s Kevin Paul Dupont said he would suggest the NHL “target any arena where a good amount … of the seats are at least 10 feet above ice level.” After attending the games held at Wrigley Field and Fenway Park, he said the league should probably consider football stadiums more strongly than baseball venues because ballparks "are borderline horrid watching venues." He said, "So many of those seats are barely above ice level that the in-stadium, or in-ballpark, viewing, by my measure, is deplorable.” However, if the NHL does decide to use baseball stadiums, Dupont suggested it “would be better in these huge ballparks to build bleachers on one side of the rink, and maybe put 3,000 or 4,000 (spectators) in those bleachers.”