Ticket demand for tonight's Rangers-Islanders NHL Coors Light Stadium Series game at Yankee Stadium "has increased, a sign that the NHL’s strategy of staging two outdoor games in the metropolitan area during Super Bowl week is succeeding," according to Jeff Klein of the N.Y. TIMES. The NHL yesterday announced that tonight's game is sold out, and TiqIQ data shows that ticket resale prices "are also rising." Secondary market prices "rose by more than" 50% between Sunday morning -- prior to the start of the first outdoor game at Yankee Stadium -- and yesterday morning. NHL COO John Collins said that the league "was pleased by the response to the Yankee Stadium games." Klein writes interest in tonight’s game "seems to be growing despite a forecast of 20-degree temperatures for a 7:30 p.m. start time." The "influx of sports fans in the area for the Super Bowl may be increasing demand" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/29). In N.Y., Pat Leonard notes tonight's forecast calls for "no chance of precipitation, but 11 mph winds." Rangers C Brian Boyle yesterday said the atmosphere of Sunday's Rangers-Devils game "was remarkable." He added, "They had the bagpipes at the beginning and everybody there. A lot of effort went into that game to make it what it was. We're in a baseball stadium, in the middle of an infield. Obviously (the ice) isn't going to be normal" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/29).
I'M KIND OF A BIG DEAL: SPORTS ON EARTH's Stu Hackel wrote Rangers-Devils at Yankee Stadium was "another hugely successful NHL outdoor game," but the weather and ice conditions made it "more like an old-fashioned pond hockey game." The ice at Yankee Stadium "wasn't great, but it's not great in every NHL arena either." Hackel: "Considering how much outdoor hockey raises the profile of the sport in the cities where they are played, not to mention the revenue they share from each gate, the league's owners love these games." They have "all trained their eyes on venues in their markets." While there has been "some fear that the rapid expansion -- from one outdoor contest a year to six this season -- will over saturate and ruin the product, Stadium Series games are conceived more as local than national in scope" (SPORTSONEARTH.com, 1/28). USA TODAY's Kevin Allen wrote, "The outdoor game concept is probably among the most novel and effective marketing ideas the NHL has hatched." Anyone who thinks the "novelty is wearing off is missing the value of the games," which "comes in the marketplaces where the game is played." This is an event "where you really do have to be there to get it." No one at Ducks-Kings "cared that there were four other outdoor games in the USA this season and another big stadium game in Vancouver." Ducks RW Teemu Selanne said that there "wasn't a single negative attached to his outdoor hockey experience and every NHL team should have the opportunity to host one of these games." Allen wrote, "At some point, the outdoor game concept might grow stale. But we aren't close to being there yet" (USA TODAY, 1/28).
WHO'S GOT NEXT? Coyotes Exec Chair George Gosbee said following the success of Ducks-Kings at Dodger Stadium, "I'm even more convinced that we could do it in Arizona." He added, "Obviously we've been pretty vocal about wanting to do it and hopefully we've presented a good case" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 1/29). MillerCoors Dir of Sports & Entertainment Marketing Adam Dettman said that Coors Light is "so pleased with its multi-year title sponsorship of the Series, its pushing for Denver to be in the rotation next year." NHL Exec VP/Marketing Brian Jennings confirmed the Avalanche "are under consideration to host a Stadium Series game next year." AD AGE's McCarthy & Schultz note the game "could be played at Coors Field" (ADAGE.com, 1/29). Stars President & CEO Jim Lites said an outdoor game at AT&T Stadium is "still a few years away," adding, "I would say 2015-16 at the earliest, and more realistically 2016-17." In Dallas, Mike Heika notes the Stars have "several issues they have to deal with in trying to draw an outdoor game to Texas." They "need the excitement of hockey to be up," and the "national interest in the Stars to be up" as well. Through Monday night's home loss to the Avalanche, the Stars are 10th in the Western Conference standings and rank 27th in NHL home attendance. Lites said, "Look, we think we've made a lot of inroads with fans, with advertisers and with the grassroots hockey effort at the youth level, but it takes time. So, honestly, now is not the time for us to try to attract a game like that" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/29).