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SBD/April 8, 2013/Events and AttractionsPrint All
The NHL yesterday officially announced "what had been an open secret: that the two sides have rescheduled" the Winter Classic for Jan. 1, 2014 between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs, according to Kyle Austin of ANNARBOR.com. The announcement comes two weeks after the Univ. of Michigan's board of regents "reaffirmed the facility rental contract between the two sides" for Michigan Stadium. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said that cooperation from the UM athletic department "has been critical." The league also announced that the Great Lakes Invitational "will be held outdoors at Comerica Park in late December, as part of the Hockeytown Winter Festival at Comerica Park." NHL officials said that despite the cancellation and the year off from what has become "a successful annual event for the league ... they expect no dropoff in excitement for the 2014 Winter Classic." Bettman said that the game will start at 1:00pm ET on New Year's Day (ANNARBOR.com, 4/7). Bettman said that he expects the Winter Classic to "set a world hockey attendance record with at least 105,000 fans." He added that the Winter Classic will be "part of a two-week series of events that will include the Alumni Showdown ... as well as AHL, OHL and high school games in addition to the Great Lakes Invitational for college teams." Olympia Entertainment President & CEO Tom Wilson "thanked Bettman for giving Detroit a 'mulligan' after the 2013 event was canceled by the lockout." Wilson said that in "addition to the various hockey games, there will also be entertainment that will include concerts at Joe Louis Arena and the Fox Theatre" (MLIVE.com, 4/7). In N.Y., Jeff Klein noted HBO's "24/7" reality program "will return" (NYTIMES.com, 4/7). Sportsnet yesterday also announced that it has secured an agreement with the NHL for multimedia rights to "24/7" (Sportsnet).
DRESSED TO IMPRESS: In L.A., Dan Loumen noted the game will "feature players sporting retro jerseys." The jerseys "won't be replicas of those worn in the past but will feature a combination of logos and team names from different eras." Most of the Red Wings' uniforms will "feature the 1920s look of the franchise's Detroit Cougars days with the logo from the 1930s and lettering from the 1980s." The Maple Leafs' jerseys will be "even more of a conglomeration of eras, with the basic look featuring the style of the 1930s jersey combined with the original 1920s logo as well as number and pattern elements from the 1950s and '60s" (LATIMES.com, 4/7).
IS CALIFORNIA NEXT? In L.A., Helene Elliott reports a Kings-Ducks outdoor game at Dodger Stadium is "moving closer to reality." Details are "still being negotiated, but plans call for the teams to face off in a regular-season game on Jan. 25, 2014, using the portable rink and refrigeration equipment the NHL owns." A formal announcement is "tentatively set for April 17 or 18." The NHLPA "must approve components of the plan, and the NHL and the Dodgers must agree on financial aspects, including the division of revenue, but no snags have cropped up that appear big enough to derail a project the Kings have energetically promoted." The game would be "played at night to avoid sun on the ice." The NHL has "favored cold-weather cities for outdoor games, but advances in technology and the novelty of a game in Southern California won over skeptics who opposed a warm-weather site." The game between the Kings and Ducks would be the "first of two outdoor games that weekend." The second would be played Jan. 26 in N.Y., with Yankee Stadium the "preferred venue" (L.A. TIMES, 4/8). Kings VP/Communications & Broadcasting Mike Altieri in an e-mail wrote, "It's still in the planning stages and nothing is certain, but there is an aggressive plan to make it happen." Ducks Exec VP & COO Tim Ryan said, "There is nothing confirmed, but we would certainly have interest in being in the game" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 4/8).
RISK VS. REWARD: CBSSPORTS.com's Chris Peters wrote of the proposed game at Dodger Stadium, "It sounds like an incredibly risky option in terms of ice conditions, considering LA's average temperature in February is between 50 and 70 degrees, but it's certainly creative." The potential "national-attention grab of an outdoor game in California is just too good to pass up" (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/7). ESPN.com's Craig Custance wrote the "motivation for more American outdoor games is simple." The Winter Classic is a "huge success each year for the NHL in driving interest and revenue for the game." Bettman said, "It's no secret that lots of cities and lots of teams have said we really want one of these ... that doesn't mean we're doing it. We're aware of the tremendous interest. Obviously we can't ignore the interest." Custance wrote the "risk is in diluting the popularity of the Winter Classic" (ESPN.com, 4/7).
A dozen North Texas officials are at the Final Four “to gather knowledge” for next year’s event at Cowboys Stadium, and they have “attended meetings" with current and future Final Four reps, and attended Saturday’s semifinal games, according to Brad Townsend of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. They have “closely monitored Atlanta’s efforts in aspects such as security, traffic, hospitality, Final Four-related community service initiatives and other ancillary events.” By “all indications, Cowboys Stadium will break the record for the highest attendance at an NCAA Tournament game, and has a very good chance of breaking the attendance record for any college basketball game.” NCAA D-I Men’s Basketball Championships Dir L.J. Wright said of Cowboys Stadium’s seating capacity for the Final Four, “My guess is it would be high 70s to low 80s.” Townsend noted the “largest crowd to attend a college basketball game is 78,129 for a 2003 regular-season game between Kentucky and Michigan State at Ford Field in Detroit” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/7). Meanwhile, in Phoenix, Paola Boivin notes Arizona State Univ. AD & VP/Athletics Steve Patterson and NFL Cardinals Exec VP & COO Ron Minegar were “studying the event as part of a Valley group considering putting in a bid for a future Final Four” (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 4/8).
RAZE THE ROOF: GRANTLAND's Charles Pierce writes the Final Four is “going to be contested in one dome or another forever,” meaning the organization’s “signature event, and the one that pays almost all the bills, is going to be contested in buildings that are too big for basketball.” The fact remains that the “simple task of putting the ball in the basket is far too difficult while you're trying to play the game in Castle Dracula.” Baskets “look like they’re drifting in space” when placed in a dome, and the seats are “so distant that, when you shoot at them, the closest fans look like they're sitting behind the walls of an aquarium." Pierce: “Where do you go, seriously, when the size of the event makes the actual playing of the game impossible?” The size of the Final Four “forced the event to move into the domes, and playing the games in domes has completely destroyed the act most basic to the game itself.” This is “beyond absurd,” but also “beyond all recall.” The NCAA in its “infinite avarice has made its signature event almost unrecognizable as actual basketball” (GRANTLAND.com, 4/8).
HOST FOR ALL OCCASIONS: YAHOO SPORTS’ Dan Wetzel noted the NCAA, for the “first time … staged the D-II and D-III national title games in the same city as the D-I Final Four.” On the off day between the D-I semifinals and “the championship game, the NCAA rented out an NBA arena, staged an old-school double header (two title games) and offered free admission to whoever wanted to come in and watch.” The result was “phenomenal,” as there was an “electric crowd of about 6,500 in the lower bowl" of Philips Arena for the D-III finale. Nearly 8,000 fans for the D-II final provided a “tremendous atmosphere, and one otherwise impossible to create in small college hoops.” NCAA President Mark Emmert said, "We'd never have gotten a crowd that big." Wetzel wrote, “The small-college guys were treated like big-school royalty. The hotels were plush. The meals top notch. There were police escorts for the team bus.” All four teams were “introduced on the court of Saturday's Final Four games at the Georgia Dome.” Amherst College G Aaron Toomey “even flashed a Syracuse shirt in honor of his dad, Kevin, an Orange alum.” D-III champion Amherst and D-II champion Drury will be honored during tonight's national title game between Michigan and Louisville (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/7).
ROCK ON: The ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION reported the AT&T-sponsored, three-day Big Dance Concert Series benefitted from “perfect weather all weekend and, despite big crowds downtown, no major incidents reported.” Centennial Olympic Park officials said that an “estimated crowd of 40,000” filled the park to capacity yesterday for a concert featuring Dave Matthews Band and Sting. The band performed a “nearly three-hour set” (AJC.com, 4/7). In Atlanta, Melissa Ruggieri noted Muse’s concert had “15-minutes of silence that occurred in the middle of the band’s hour-long set Saturday night at Centennial Olympic Park.” The NCAA’s Big Dance Concert Series organizers said that the issue was a “loss of power to one of the mix board generators.” There were “35,000 people stuffed into the park” for the event (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 4/7). Ruggieri noted Friday’s kickoff of the concert series, called the AT&T Block Party, "lured Saints of Valory, My Morning Jacket and the Zac Brown Band.” Police estimated that about “30,000-35,000 fans crowded the park and surrounding plaza” (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 4/6).
OTHER FESTIVITIES: In New Orleans, Rachel Whittaker reported Univ. of Louisville Assistant AD/Facilities & Championships Josh Heird "won the sixth annual 4Kay Run Saturday morning, benefiting the Kay Yow Cancer Fund" (NOLA.com, 4/6). Meanwhile, in Atlanta, Jennifer Brett noted Juli Boeheim, wife of Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim, and Cindy Fox, wife of Univ. of Georgia men’s basketball coach Mark Fox, attended the annual Coaches vs. Cancer charity luncheon and boutique shopping event on Friday (AJC.com, 4/5).
The city of Jacksonville “lost nearly $736,000 on the Navy-Marine Corps Classic basketball game and related events, for which vendors weren’t paid for months" and at least two laws pertaining to procurement and contract practices were "violated,” according to Mary Kelli Palka of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. The city “nearly wiped out its sports trust fund to cover those overruns” for the Nov. 9 Florida-Georgetown men’s basketball game. The account, funded “by proceeds from city sporting events, is now down to about $8,300.” Jacksonville had “expected to spend" about $2M on the events and "thought it would bring in at least that much money.” Instead, expenses “stayed about that same, but revenue was only about" $1.3M. One of the reasons for the shortfall was the city “hoped to host the game on an aircraft carrier that could seat 8,000 people.” The Navy in mid-July “instead offered the USS Bataan, an amphibious assault ship that could seat 3,500 people.” Another reason is the outdoor game was “called off midway because of weather issues, which meant spectators spent less on concessions and merchandise.” The Week of Valor included events for military and veterans. Expenses included “building a basketball court and spectator seating on the ship.” But it also included “almost $363,000 in tickets for military members to attend a Jaguars game and a football game in Gainesville.” The city is in “planning stages for this year’s Week of Valor and is in talks with the Navy about possibly hosting another game on a carrier” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 4/7).