Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/09/14 at 02:00 PM ET
By Mike Shackil,
Ever since the NHL introduced the Winter Classic, outdoor hockey has been all the rage. There have been more and more outdoor hockey games, and last season the NHL had five outdoor games in addition to the popular Winter Classic. This upcoming season the Chicago Blackhawks will play the Washington Capitals in the Classic, with the venue yet to be decided.
Neither team is new to the outdoor stadium games. Last season the Blackhawks schedule included a game at Soldier Field against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and they hosted the 2009 Winter Classic at Wrigley Field against the Detroit Red Wings. The Capitals schedule has also featured a Winter Classic game in the past. They were the visitor in the 2011 game in Pittsburgh against the Penguins.
The possible parks for the game are Nationals Park, Camden Yards, FedEx Field and RFK Stadium. Nationals Park is currently the favorite to land the game, a departure from the enormous Michigan Stadium where the Classic was hosted last year. But it’s not uncommon for the game to be held at a ballpark. In 2012 the Philadelphia Flyers hosted the New York Rangers at Citizens Bank Park.
But all things considered, FedEx Field could be the best option for the NHL. The most expensive Winter Classic tickets in the past four years on the secondary market was that 2011 game held at Heinz Field, and the numbers are staggering. The average ticket price for the game was $489.41, while the average price in 2012 in Philly was $114.67. Even in the Big House last year, where over 100,000 people were in attendance, tickets topped that with an average $155.83.
So the stadium with the smallest seating capacity also had the lowest prices. But it’s possible the stadium size had little to do with the prices. After all a bigger stadium means more supply, which should mean less demand. And in that 2011 game, the Capitals were one of the two participating teams. This season’s Winter Classic could show just how much the Capitals were responsible for that impressive $489.41 average price.
Of all the potential venues, Nationals Park is the smallest. The ballpark has a capacity of 41,888, while the next closest arena is Robert F. Kennedy Stadium where D.C. United plays their games. The capacity for the stadium is 45,596, which is just a tick below Camden Yards with a capacity of 45,971. In comparison, FedEx Field is one of the largest stadiums in the entire NFL with a capacity of 91,704. That trumps even Heinz Field, which only has a capacity of 65,050.
The highest average price for a Winter Classic in recent memory was at an NFL stadium back in 2011. This year the Capitals will host the event, but it’s looking like Nationals Park will be the venue. That’s good news for the fans, as the last ballpark to host the game also had the lowest average ticket price in the last several seasons.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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