SBD/August 7, 2014/Events and Attractions

NHL Chooses Levi's Stadium Over AT&T Park To Host Sharks-Kings Outdoor Game

The NHL yesterday "gave the nod" for Levi's Stadium to host an outdoor game next season between the Sharks and the Kings as part of the the league's Coors Light Stadium Series, according to David Pollak of the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS. The event will be held Feb.21 and "could set an attendance record for hockey in the Golden State." In the end, "size won out over scenery as the football stadium's 68,500-seat capacity trumped the more picturesque waterfront setting" of AT&T Park that holds approximately 42,000. Sharks COO John Tortora said that "better sightlines and the natural configuration of a football field were factors in the NHL's decision." But the "higher capacity also meant ticket prices would be lower." Tickets will "range in price from $65 to $350 and go on sale" today to "season-ticket holders for both hockey teams as well as seat-license holders at Levi's Stadium." NHL Senior VP/Events Don Renzulli said, "Not that there were any negatives up the street by any means. My guess is that we will, in the next few years, be back and we'll probably be up at AT&T" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 8/7).

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: Pollak wrote Levi's Stadium got "bonus points for it’s proximity to San Jose." Renzulli said, “One, it’s in their market, which I think, initially, for the first time, it makes some sense. It’s new, it’s got all kinds of amenities that I think everybody will see over the course of the NFL season and some of the soccer games prior to us getting there. There’s just a lot of plusses" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 8/6). In California, Elliott Teaford writes San Jose was a "natural second stop for the league in its Stadium Series." Kings President of Business Operations Luc Robitaille said, “This event is a tremendous example of how our game continues to grown and evolve in the state of California" (Torrance DAILY BREEZE, 8/7). Tortora said, "The exposure that we're going to get, not only for us but for the city of San Jose, is tremendous. We'll get media exposure across the U.S. and Canada. That's going to lead to perhaps additional sponsorship, perhaps more season-ticket holders over time, just more general interest in the sport of hockey and the Sharks, which is positive" (NHL.com, 8/6). CSN Bay Area’s Ray Ratto said, “I think the outdoor game in general is sort of played out as a phenomenon, but it’s never happened here before so we will treat it like it’s an event. ... There's not going to be much bad weather there. You would have been better putting it at AT&T (Park) and hoping for king hell fog to make it impossible to see because this is going to look a lot like that Ducks-Kings last year where the weather was fine and it was just sort of an uneventful game” (“Yahoo SportsTalk Live,” CSN Bay Area, 8/6).

HOME AWAY FROM HOME: Tortora said that since the game is a league event in which the NHL gets the ticket revenue, the NHL will reimburse the Sharks for revenue it would have "ordinarily made on a home game." Tortora "declined to disclose specifics about how much money that would actually entail" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/6). THE HOCKEY NEWS' Adam Proteau listed his "five reasons to be excited" about the game at Levi's Stadium (THEHOCKEYNEWS.com, 8/6). USA TODAY's Kevin Allen notes NHL officials "haven't revealed how many games will be part of the Stadium Series next season." The "only other outdoor game that has been announced" is the Blackhawks-Capitals Bridgestone Winter Classic on New Year's Day (USA TODAY, 8/7).
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