NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the presale for next year's Predators-Stars Winter Classic at Cotton Bowl Stadium "exceeded 60,000," noting that figure is the "second best we've had in our 27 outdoor games," according to Tim Cowlishaw of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Bettman said the response so far from Dallas "tells you what an incredible hockey market this is." Bettman: "People are really responding to the Winter Classic." Cowlishaw notes the Jan. 1 game, which will be a rematch of their just-completed first-round playoff series, is the "first of its kind in anything approaching the southern part" of the U.S. Capacity for the game is "flexible but is likely to be in the range of 80,000 depending upon entertainment setup and other options." Bettman said "about 11,000" tickets for the '20 Winter Classic have been sold in Nashville, meaning people are "coming to town for New Year's" for the game (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/23).
Events and Attractions
Birmingham and Lake Guntersville will be "playing host to the 50th Bassmaster Classic" next year on March 6-8, according to Tyler Patchen of the BIRMINGHAM BUSINESS JOURNAL. The expo and weigh-in portions "will be held at the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex in downtown Birmingham." This will be the 12th time it will be hosted in Alabama and eighth time in Birmingham. The last time Birmingham hosted the event was in '14. The event will "feature a 53-person competition," with a $1M winning purse. Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau VP/Sports Sales & Marketing David Galbaugh said that the '14 edition had "good attendance and coordination from Birmingham-based BASS, and he expects the same will happen" in '20 (BIZJOURNALS.com, 4/23).
The Web.com Tour is adding a new stop in Huntsville, Ala., that will debut next year. The Huntsville Championship will be played at The Ledges course the week of April 20-26 with 156 players competing for a $600,000 purse. A five-year deal is in place through '24. The Tour is partnering with Birmingham-based sports marketing agency Knight Eady in running the event. No title sponsor has yet been signed for the event. The deal marks the Web.com Tour’s first event in Huntsville since '98, when the Alabama Classic ended a five-year run. Penn Garvich has been named Tournament Dir in Huntsville. Prior to joining the Huntsville Championship team, Garvich worked with Wasserman and the Valero Texas Open as Manager for Corporate Partnerships for the past three years. The Huntsville event is the third new tourney announced by the Web.com Tour since January and is the first new event announced under Web.com President Alex Baldwin since her promotion in February.