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NHL rumored to host 6 outdoor games in ’14, 2 at Yankee Stadium featuring NYR

According to TSN, specifically their “Insider Trading” program, the NHL is planning to host 6 outdoor games next season. As of this writing (Tuesday night), nothing has been confirmed by the league, but it’s certainly an interesting concept. Below are the rumored dates, matchups and locations.

  • January 1st at Michigan Stadium between Toronto and Detroit
  • January 25th at Dodger Stadium between Anaheim and LA
  • January 26th at Yankee Stadium between the Islanders and the Rangers
  • January 29th at Yankee Stadium between the Devils and the Rangers
  • March 1st at Soldier Field between Pittsburgh and Chicago
  • March 2nd at BC Place between Ottawa and Vancouver

I don’t doubt the NHL is planning to host multiple outdoor games. These games sell tickets, sponsorships and drive ratings. Ultimately those elements help grow the pie. What’s interesting about these games though are the locations and matchup choices. LA? Two in NYC? Can that be right? By no means am I suggesting the NHL shouldn’t hold 2 games at Yankee Stadium. I am just surprised they were able to persuade other owners to sign off on this.

As for an outdoor game in Los Angeles, are they planning to make it a roller hockey game? A few years ago the NHL said they could probably hold an outdoor game in a climate as warm as 50 degrees as long as the game were held at night. The average low temperature in LA in January is approximately 48 degrees. Cutting it close eh? Hey I’m no ice expert. If Dan Craig (NHL Facilities Director aka Ice Guru) thinks he can make it happen, by all means.

Should the NHL confirm these plans, this is a pretty big win for hockey fans, especially those of us who live in the NYDMA. I was always hoping the Rangers would get the 2014 Classic at Yankee Stadium. Looks like I may get my wish — twice.

The reaction from media members, at least the cynical ones, will likely be negative. The 6 games = overkill narrative practically writes itself. Still, I don’t think fan interest in these events will decline at all. Ultimately hockey is a regional sport, whose viewership is powered by local TV markets. The NHL is certainly feeding that beast. Plus those March games come after the Super Bowl, but before the NCAA Tournament. If there’s ever a time to have a big sporting event, that’s your window.

Time to start saving for that airline ticket Chris.

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  1. I hope this is true, cause it would be freaking awesome.

    Does anyone know how the tickets worked for season tickets of the teams’ stadium they are playing the game in (ie: Yankee season ticket hodlers)?

    I know they usually get presale codes for non-baseball events (soccer, concerts, football, etc).

    1. It has varied every year. I know that the NHL held a certain allotment of tickets for Phillies season ticket holders. There wasn’t enough to go around for everyone, since they also had to manage Flyers and Rangers subscribers too.

      1. Hmm, hopefully the fact that YS3 has more seats (by like 10K) I can snag a few. I at least want to go to 1…obviously I guess, haha.

    1. I have to find the article from Dan Craig where he talked about ideal weather/temperature for the Winter Classic.

      If memory serves me right, I think he said 25-30 degrees is ideal. Anything under 20 and he worries about the ice cracking. Anything between 35-50 is ok, so long as there isn’t sun beating down on the ice. Lot of variables…

  2. ugh. awful. outdoor games are crappy on the ice, and even worse to watch live. Hockey is best experienced in a small arena. And as a season ticket holder, I dont want to see two of the games Id normally be at – NJD and NYI – be games I dont want to go to. But hey, this gives the NHL and the NYR two more “special” “one of a kind” jerseys to produce for all the marketing suckers!

  3. The biggest implication here, and how it most directly affects the Rangers, lies beyond next year- hockey related revenue. HRR directly sets each team’s salary cap which is set this year @ 70 mil, next yr @ 64 mil and every impending year @ 50% of ‘?’.

    6 outdoor games will significantly (to use Betmangina’s word) increase the ‘?’.

    This is a huge benefit to a team like the Rangers, who, almost perennially spend to the cap. We do have do deal with a cap drop next year of 6 million, but moving forward the cap shouldn’t shrink further. 6 outdoor games should help it grow.

    All considered, this *hopefully* eases the burden on Sather to re-sign all of those UFAs and RFAs in the summer of 2014, with seemingly everybody’s contract expiring.

    That’s why this could be a much bigger win for the Rangers beyond hosting a game at Yankee Stadium next year…..twice.

      1. Perfect content for a more in depth ‘dog days of summer post’ ….. I’ll keep an eye out for it : )

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