Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 12/11/13 at 03:19 PM ET
from David Ebner of the Globe and Mail,
Some skeptics have moaned about the proliferation of outdoor games, but the contests are being embraced by fans and marketers. Sponsors pour money into the games, and tickets sell fast. A sellout of the 55,000 available in Vancouver for the March 2 game against the Ottawa Senators is expected, and two games at Yankee Stadium scheduled near the Super Bowl are close to sold out.
The 110,000 or so predicted to fill the Big House at the University of Michigan, showcasing the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings in the Winter Classic, will be record-setting.
This is the business of the NHL operating with more oomph than it’s ever had before. The half-dozen outdoor games is part of the reason next year’s salary cap is shooting up by around $6-million (U.S.) toward $71-million – and the games are a visible display of a league buoyed by a big-time new TV contract in Canada and strong exposure on NBC in the United States. The NHL is becoming less and less a poor cousin of the NFL, MLB and the NBA.
Expect more, not fewer, outdoor games on the long NHL calendar in the year ahead, tied, of course, with special television programming. The days of one per winter are past.
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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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