The Malik Report
by George Malik on 08/24/12 at 01:55 AM ET
Sorry about posting this late…I kinda barely slept for two days. Anyway, via RedWingsFeed, AnnArbor.com’s Jeff Arnold noted that University of Michigan athletic director David Brandon is well aware of the fact that the NHL can cancel the Winter Classic at any time up to January 1st with only a $100,000 (plus, after December 1st, any expenses incurred for setting up and tearing down the rink) penalty, and yes, the University will deal with it…But Guess who Arnold, writing for Puck Daddy, says the cancellation of the game would hurt?
The same people who haven’t yet been mentioned in the “game night rink” staff equation yet—the restaurants, bars, hotels, private parking lots, the usual—in Detroit and Ann Arbor, given the high likelihood that the “Hockeytown Winter Festival” would go the way of the dodo as well:
The local economy in Ann Arbor is also counting on an economic boost from an event that would draw as many as 115,000 fans. Ticket prices range between $79 and $279 with tickets being sold at seven different pricing levels.
Brandon said earlier this year that an average Michigan home game generates between $14 million and $15 million for local businesses, including hotels and restaurants. Brandon expects the Winter Classic could generate even more money, which has been evidenced in recent years. According to the league, the annual winter outdoor game generates between $30 million and $36 million for host cities.
In February at the official announcement of the Winter Classic’s 2013 destination, NHL chief operating officer John Collins estimated the economic impact for the weeklong hockey celebration could top the $75 million scale for southeast Michigan, taking both the Detroit and Ann Arbor venues into consideration.
The cancellation of the event, in this case, would not only impact one city, but two. While the actual Winter Classic will be played in Ann Arbor — many of the ancillary events, including the alumni game, fan fest and other games leading up to the Red Wings-Maple Leafs’ showdown will be played at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit. That, according to one local official, spells double trouble.
“The Winter Classic is definitely a huge deal for the Ann Arbor area,” said Mary Kerr, president of the Ann Arbor Convention and Visitors’ Bureau. “But if you look at the big picture, our whole region would suffer if the event were canceled.”
Kerr said Thursday that she expects the direct economic impact on Ann Arbor to be in the $14 million-$15 million range — surpassing that of a typical Michigan football home game. Last year, the area saw $15 million in estimated economic impact when Michigan and Notre Dame played in the first night game at Michigan Stadium when many area hotels required a minimum two-night stay for the event.Several hotels will require the same two-night stay for the Winter Classic, coming at a time, Kerr said, when hotels and other area businesses typically experience slower business. The Winter Classic would provide a “boost” for such area businesses.
“Losing something [the Winter Classic] that we’ve been planning for and anticipating,” Kerr said, “would be very disappointing.”
On Wednesday, Brandon said should the Winter Classic be canceled, the university would not go ahead and host another outdoor game in its place.
Instead, Ann Arbor will be what it usually is around Christmastime—minus about 55,000 students and staff from the University of Michigan, and as such, very quiet.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.