SBD/February 25, 2013/Events and Attractions

Is NHL Considering Hosting Multiple Outdoor Games In A Single Season?

Outdoor NHL games are "near locks" for Yankee Stadium and Dodger Stadium
The NHL is “considering multiple outdoor games aside from the Winter Classic starting as soon as next season,” according to sources cited by Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com. Sources confirmed that the possibility has been “seriously discussed since the beginning of the 48-game abbreviated season as a logical way to build back some of the revenues lost during the painful NHL lockout.” A report noted that both Yankee Stadium and Dodger Stadium “are settings being eyed for outdoor hockey games next season.” A source indicated any outdoor game in Boston involving the Bruins over the next few years “would most likely be played at Gillette Stadium” and the market is “in the discussion for another outdoor game in the near future.” It is unclear “when the other outdoor games would be played and if there would be some kind of connection to the Winter Classic, but expect the NHL to tread carefully with the idea as there’s a strong desire not to kill the golden goose that’s given the league ratings, advertisers and much-needed buzz over the last few years” (CSNNE.com, 2/23). THEFOURTHPERIOD.com’s David Pagnotta in the original report wrote, "The NHL might not want to explore more than two outdoor games, in addition to the Winter Classic -- and I'd be surprised if there are more than two in 2014, the League might be better served easing into this -- but they are considering all of their options, including alternative dates and times.” There also has been “talk about staging a game in each of the seven Canadian NHL markets, Minnesota, Denver and Washington -- Philadelphia, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Boston and Chicago, all of whom have already hosted a Winter Classic, are also options for future games.” It is unclear “when the NHL will finalize its plans," though it sounds like both N.Y. and L.A. are "near-locks.” Pagnotta wondered if “the hype of the Winter Classic will be lost if this becomes an annual occurrence.” The NHL also is “in discussions" to bring back the Heritage Classic, which could “take place in either Vancouver or Edmonton” (THEFOURTHPERIOD.com, 2/23).

NOT A FAN: CBSSPORTS.com’s Brian Stubits wrote of the possibility of more than one outdoor game in a season, “It does inspire a one-word reaction from me ... NOOOOoooooooo!” An annual outdoor game has “already had people wondering if it was too much, if the spectacle was going to run its course and not be special anymore.” Stubits: “You ever hear too much of a good thing?” He continued: “I could live with the return of the Heritage Classic in Canada. … I'd have no problem with a second outdoor game. But four? It's overkill. Plus, would you really want to waste a setting like Yankee Stadium on a game that wouldn't technically be the Winter Classic?” It is “an important note” that the consideration “doesn't go beyond the 2013-14 season yet” (CBSSPORTS.com, 2/24).
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