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Winter Classic talk: estimated attendance 107,000, economic impact around $30 mil, Alum games on FSD

Updated 5x at 7:16 PM: You may take these Tweets regarding the Red Wings and the Winter Classic--from Yahoo Sports' Nicholas J. Cotsonika, ESPN's Craig Custance, Crain's Detroit Business's Bill Shea, the Free Press's George Sipple and Michigan Hockey (as well as Michigan Hockey corespondent Stefan Kubus), quoting Wings CEO Tom Wilson--for what you will:

That's split about 50-50 between Ann Arbor and the more immediate Metro Detroit area.

Update: Michigan Hockey's Stefan Kubus is also at the briefing, which sounds like a set-up for tomorrow's "reveal" of the Coke Zero Fan Zone at Comerica Park...

Update #1.5:

Update #2: This is incredibly important:

This isn't surprising:

I can tell you that from my experience in searching for Wings stories, TONS of Ontario-based folks purchased tickets and IMMEDIATELY placed them on the resale market. Kiji and ebay.ca are saturated with them.

Update #3: We'll call this, "Because only season ticket-holders of some form could snag tickets"...

And we'll call this one "ouch":




Update #4: Here's Michigan Hockey's Michael Caples and Stefan Kubus on the Winter Classic presser updates:

Olympia Entertainment president and CEO Tom Wilson was joined by NHL COO John Collins, Chief Marketing Officer Brian Jennings, executive vice president of events Don Renzulli, executive vice president of sales and sponsorship Keith Wachtel and HBO’s coordinating producer for the 24/7 series Bentley Weiner to discuss the month-long hockey celebration.

The NHL expects to move into Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Dec. 2 to begin setting up for the 2014 NHL Winter Classic. Meanwhile, Renzulli said that construction of the ice at Comerica Park in Detroit would begin this Friday.

Some of the details discussed:

  •  Wilson said the NHL Winter Classic is sold out, while there have been 120,000 tickets sold for the five major events at the Hockeytown Winter Festival (Alumni Showdown, AHL game, OHL games, and the Great Lakes Invitational).
  •  The NHL is actively preparing for the massive crowd that will be in Ann Arbor for New Year’s Day. Extra parking will be available at Pioneer High School (5,000 spaces) and a bus system is set up to carry people from Briarwood Mall. It will be $50 to park near Michigan Stadium.
  • Both teams will have two hours of ice time at Michigan Stadium on Dec. 31.
  • HBO began background interviews in Detroit yesterday. The first episode of “24/7 Red Wings/Maple Leafs: Road to the NHL Winter Classic” will play on Saturday, Dec. 14 at 10 p.m. ET. All four episodes will play in consecutive Saturday nights at that same time, ending on Jan. 4.
  • Twenty-three brands are involved with sponsorships at the Winter Classic – the most the league has had for this event – which was made possible by the local and Canadian businesses getting involved.

“…We’re feeling pretty good about being able to deliver exactly what we talked about two years ago when this idea first came across, which is setting a record for best attended hockey event ever and also making a serious difference in downtown Detroit,” Wilson said. “When you think about the fact that over 200,000 tickets have already been sold for these events, 30-percent of the people coming to town will be Canadian. So, from an economic impact standpoint from how that’s going to impact our hotels, restaurants, everything else in this city, it’s going to make a huge difference for us.

“We’re proud to be hosting that. We want to thank Red Wing fans, who were supporting us to the best degree, the Toronto team, organization and fans for everything they’ve done to help make this a success and of course the NHL for giving us the opportunity to host this event… It’s going to be a two-week celebration of hockey that will culminate with the biggest game ever, so we’re proud to be involved.”

Bill Roose posted a "Comerica Park cam"...

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan penned an update...

For the Hockeytown Winter Festival events at Comerica Park, approximately 120,000 of the 180,000 available tickets for the various alumni games, Great Lakes Invitational, minor league and major junior games have been sold. And they're going fast. Only 10,000 tickets remain for the alumni games on Dec. 31.

"We’re feeling pretty good about being able to deliver exactly what we talked about literally two years ago, which was setting a record for the best-attended hockey event ever, and then also making a serious difference in downtown Detroit," said Tom Wilson, president and chief executive officer of Olympia Entertainment during a press conference on the Winter Classic Tuesday.

Fans will be able take a shuttle from Briarwood mall in Ann Arbor for a $4 round-trip ticket. Parking around Michigan Stadium will range from $50-$60, near the stadium or at Ann Arbor Pioneer High School.

The Michigan Golf Course will not be used but the 9-hole Golf and Outing course will be available. No bags will be allowed to be brought into Michigan Stadium.

The Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will be featured on HBO's “24/7” reality television series, leading to the Winter Classic, beginning on Dec. 14 at 10 p.m. A small crew was in town last couple days to do preliminary work.

Separate crews of approximately 10 will be embedded with the Red Wings and Maple Leafs starting in early December.

"It's so raw, and that's what people like, it's unedited," said Bentley Weiner, “24/7” coordinating producer.

And USA Today's Kevin Allen updated the situation as well:

We're looking forward to 107,000-plus people up there," said Red Wings president and CEO Tom Wilson.

NHL senior vice president Don Renzulli said 35,000 fans from the Toronto area will be at the game.

Wilson said 120,000 tickets have been sold for the auxiliary outdoor games at Comerica Park in Detroit. Those include two alumni games between the Red Wings and Maple Leafs, plus the Great Lakes Invitational tournament and two Ontario Hockey League games featuring the Saginaw Spirit playing the Windsor Spitfires and the Plymouth (Mich.) Whalers playing the London Knights.

There are 10,000 tickets remaining for the alumni games, but those are expected to sell out. Tickets would go quickly if Steve Yzerman announces he will be there. He hasn't divulged his intentions, primarily because he has been busy performing his duties as the Tampa Bay Lightning general manager and GM of the Canada Olympic hockey team.

"In every respect, the Winter Classic in Hockeytown is going to be the biggest one ever and probably forever," said NHL chief operating officer John Collins.

The NHL will start working on Dec. 2 to transform Michigan Stadium into an NHL venue.

"To put this into perspective, this is our Super Bowl," Renzulli said. "This gives us the opportunity to go out and pre-plan a year or year-and-a-half in advance."

Renzulli said the NHL has looked at every aspect of holding an event in Ann Arbor, including parking.

"We spent a lot of time talking about traffic," Renzulli said. "We asked where do they park, and (people) said it is just a phenomenon. They just disappear and they park. That's not good enough for us. We spent a lot of time looking at what to do and where to park."

The AP has also posited the following:

The NHL’s 2014 Winter Classic is officially sold out.

NHL and Detroit Red Wings executives made the announcement Tuesday, saying some single tickets are available.

The Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs are expected play in front of 107,000-plus people on New Year’s Day at Michigan Stadium. In the same football stadium, Michigan and Michigan State set a hockey attendance of 104,173 in 2010.

Update #5: Here's a little more from the Detroit Free Press's George Sipple:

Renzulli said a plan to clear snow and parking were two of the biggest issues that were discussed in the planning of the event.

Here are some other interesting facts that were revealed on during the meeting.

■According to Wilson, “30-35% of the people coming to town will be Canadian. From an economic impact standpoint, how that’s going to impact our hotels and restaurants and everything else in the city, it’s going to make a huge, huge difference for us.”

■The NHL will begin building the rink Dec. 2 at Michigan Stadium and will work through Dec. 23. After a break, they will resume work Dec. 26 and work through the completion of the event.

■The Wings and Leafs will practice on Dec. 31. Each team will have two hours to practice, bring their families out and take photos.

■ The NHL set up the seating so that half the stadium would ideally be decked in red and the other half in blue. Organizers admitted that the secondary market will end up being a factor in how things look once all of the fans are inside.

■The number of sold to Red Wings season ticket-holders was about 2-for-1 compared to tickets sold to Maple Leafs season ticket-holders.

■Michigan Stadium security measures will be in place for the event and organizers want to stress that no bags or purses will be allowed in the stadium. Spreading the word is a big concern, considering about 35,000 Canadians are expected to attend the event and might be unaware of that policy.

■About 60 local laborers will be used daily to help build the ice rink.

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Down River Dan's avatar

I searched for tickets just for the heck of it several weeks back, and at time, single seats in row 2 (near the bottom of the stadium) were all that was available.  You couldn’t buy two seats together anywhere. I was at the UM & MSU game at Michigan Stadium sitting about 20-30 rows up and the sightlines were great. The experience was a lot of fun, but I’m not going to pay scalpers prices for bad sightline tickets. The surrounding party might be fun.I’m not sure the local wings fans have any idea how much blue they will see on Jan 1st.

Posted by Down River Dan on 11/19/13 at 04:34 PM ET

Primis's avatar

I hate the estimates on revenue brought in to the region.

What exactly is the “region” or “area”.... and how do they arrive at that number?  Obviously not Q’s for you George, but for Collins.

Posted by Primis on 11/19/13 at 04:36 PM ET

dougie's avatar

Primis, I think they may use some of the same methodology that allows law enforcement to bust an enterprising teenager with 2 pounds of pot that has “street value of $1.3 million” on the news that evening.

Posted by dougie on 11/19/13 at 06:50 PM ET

Primis's avatar

Primis, I think they may use some of the same methodology that allows law enforcement to bust an enterprising teenager with 2 pounds of pot that has “street value of $1.3 million” on the news that evening.

Posted by dougie on 11/19/13 at 06:50 PM ET

Sooooo, whatever sounds impressive enough?

Posted by Primis on 11/19/13 at 07:28 PM ET

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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.


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