What the NHL Stadium Series Could Mean to You

Earlier today, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman formally announced that the Chicago Blackhawks will host the Pittsburgh Penguins at Soldier Field on March 1, 2014 as part of the NHL Stadium Series. The NHL Stadium Series will likely include the Anaheim Ducks vs. the Los Angeles Kings at Dodger Stadium on January 25, 2014, the New York Rangers facing off against the New Jersey Devils at the next day at Yankee Stadium, and then the Rangers facing the Islanders three days later back at The Stadium, and the Vancouver Canucks host the Ottawa Senators at BC Place on March 2, 2014, in what is most likely the third installment of the Heritage Classic. Joining the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day, there will be 6 outdoor games in the 2013-2014 NHL season. During the Winter Classic press conference April 7, NHL COO John Collins said, “There are people who say you’ll dilute what is a good, special thing. No one would be more concerned about not screwing up a good thing than we would be.” Well, it took the NHL two years to establish an annual outdoor game. The first Winter Classic was an immediate success. The second Winter Classic affirmed this game as a new American sports tradition on New Year’s Day. In 2011, the NHL decided to roll the dice by resurrecting the Heritage Classic, most likely to appease the Canadian fans who wanted an outdoor game of their own. All in all, the NHL Stadium Series is all about money. There are only three events in the NHL that can generate a lot of cash: outdoor games, the All-Star weekend, and the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Add the potential of NHL players headed to Sochi for the Winter Olympics, and by the end of the 2013-2014, the NHL might be raking up revenue somewhere in the 8-9-digit range. Think about it, in 2010, the Winter Classic at Fenway Park was seen by 3.7 million in the United States, but interest in the NHL that year was not generated until after the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. As for me, do I think having 6 outdoor games in one season is overkill? Not really. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host hockey games in iconic venues. After all, isn’t that what outdoor hockey games are all about?

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