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Could Winter Classic have a Citi view?

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08:19 AM ET 12.22 | One of the great events on the NHL calendar is also one of the hottest properties in terms of host sites. Gary Bettman will not rule out Citi Field as a potential site for the 2012 Winter Classic, but that does not mean hockey fans should get ready to bundle up for an outdoor game by Flushing Bay. The SportsBusiness Journal reported Tuesday that while the late-December Pinstripe Bowl has eliminated Yankee Stadium from being considered to host the NHL's annual New Year's showcase, there are no scheduling conflicts to "hurt the chances of Citi Field or New Meadowlands Stadium."

New York Daily News

Gary Bettman, Getty Images Gary Bettman, Getty Images
December 22, 2010  08:57 AM ET

This is starting to get very East-centric. I know there aren't as many teams in the Western Conference that could host an outdoor game, but shouldn't he be trying to put this kind of event somewhere where the team could use the extra income? And yes, I'm aware of Calgary's game this year, but the games in Canada aren't the point of these events.

-Minnesota won't host till they are good enough, I assume.
-Seems like Colorado would be a beauty host...think of the landscape shots, etc. Not like the Broncos are going to be playing in January next year either.
-Columbus could use some excitement. Hosted the WJCs well a few years back.
-St. Louis keeps being respectable

I know NY is the centre of the North American sports universe, but why put this event in a town where it won't even be the hottest ticket?

December 22, 2010  09:05 AM ET

And put the Cdn ones in non-NHL markets, maybe. Give Hamilton an outdoor game, they deserve it after the bull they've gone through the last cpl years. Winnipeg would be a cold but amazing host. Quebec City is unbelievable picturesque in the winter. Maybe even Halifax. Or give KC a chance to show they can host a major hockey event.

Leafs could be Home Team in Hamilton vs Detroit (used to own the AHL team there) or Mtl (own current AHL team there), Phoenix in Winnipeg, Colorado vs. Mtl in Quebec City. Let a southern team be "host" in KC or Halifax I guess. The 'yotes and Avs could wear the old Jets and 'diques jerseys, it would be amazing.

December 22, 2010  09:10 AM ET

Yeah Chicago and Detroit are the only west coast teams to participate so far.
Maybe it's a timing thing. It seems maximum exposure and viewship is the goal with this even, and maybe they feel too many people on the east coast will be watching bowl games at 4pm when the west coast starts a 1pm hockey game. The NHL is going to have to figure something out, because they've pretty much milked the Crosby and Ovie cow dry.

December 22, 2010  09:25 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

And put the Cdn ones in non-NHL markets, maybe. Give Hamilton an outdoor game, they deserve it after the bull they've gone through the last cpl years. Winnipeg would be a cold but amazing host. Quebec City is unbelievable picturesque in the winter. Maybe even Halifax. Or give KC a chance to show they can host a major hockey event.Leafs could be Home Team in Hamilton vs Detroit (used to own the AHL team there) or Mtl (own current AHL team there), Phoenix in Winnipeg, Colorado vs. Mtl in Quebec City. Let a southern team be "host" in KC or Halifax I guess. The 'yotes and Avs could wear the old Jets and 'diques jerseys, it would be amazing.

I agree totally with both of your posts. Everything you said makes perfect sense. That's probably why the Dwarf won't consider it!

December 22, 2010  09:25 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

And put the Cdn ones in non-NHL markets, maybe. Give Hamilton an outdoor game, they deserve it after the bull they've gone through the last cpl years. Winnipeg would be a cold but amazing host. Quebec City is unbelievable picturesque in the winter. Maybe even Halifax. Or give KC a chance to show they can host a major hockey event. Leafs could be Home Team in Hamilton vs Detroit (used to own the AHL team there) or Mtl (own current AHL team there), Phoenix in Winnipeg, Colorado vs. Mtl in Quebec City. Let a southern team be "host" in KC or Halifax I guess. The 'yotes and Avs could wear the old Jets and 'diques jerseys, it would be amazing.

Some good points GC but they'll never include the Leafs cause then they'd have to remove the term Classic and they've already printed the stationary. :-)

December 22, 2010  09:27 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

I agree totally with both of your posts. Everything you said makes perfect sense. That's probably why the Dwarf won't consider it!

Thanks. Sad though eh? I wonder how much the league pays its marketing dep't, considering how much free advice they could be getting from us fans! ha

December 22, 2010  09:30 AM ET

Agree with GC too. How about an outdoor game in LA? It would do my heart good to see some warm weather on the 1st of January.

December 22, 2010  09:30 AM ET
QUOTE(#2):

And put the Cdn ones in non-NHL markets, maybe. Give Hamilton an outdoor game, they deserve it after the bull they've gone through the last cpl years. Winnipeg would be a cold but amazing host. Quebec City is unbelievable picturesque in the winter. Maybe even Halifax. Or give KC a chance to show they can host a major hockey event.Leafs could be Home Team in Hamilton vs Detroit (used to own the AHL team there) or Mtl (own current AHL team there), Phoenix in Winnipeg, Colorado vs. Mtl in Quebec City. Let a southern team be "host" in KC or Halifax I guess. The 'yotes and Avs could wear the old Jets and 'diques jerseys, it would be amazing.

Seeing Colorado and Phoenix wear the throwbacks in the Candaien cities would be amazing to see.

December 22, 2010  09:37 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

This is starting to get very East-centric.

The early afternoon start time dictates this to some extent...Puck drop would be in the AM if game was held out west.

December 22, 2010  09:46 AM ET

If the NHL was smart, they would have two games. An early 1:00 PM game for the Eastern Conference and a 4:30 PM game for the Western Conference.

December 22, 2010  09:49 AM ET

As far as I am concerned, the Winter Classic is a big slap in the face to established, healthy franchises. The NHL likes to push its success stories, the Pittsburghs and Washingtons to the detriment of those franchises that have unwavering support. I know I'll get jumped on by fans of the Pens and the Caps but a few short years ago, both franchises were down in the dumps, with low attendance, talk of relocation and low fan support. Add in 4 or 5 years of top 5 draft choices and now those teams are quite popular and competitive. Don't get me wrong, I think its terrific to see those cities enjoying their teams and its good for the NHL. That being said, there are fan bases in the US, such as the Rangers, Flyers, Sabres and Red Wings to name a few that have long histories and huge fan bases that support their team despite their place in the standings. The Rangers didn't make the playoffs between 97 and the lock out and yet MSG was packed for every home game. Its easy to say that is because the NY area is so populous but there are 3 teams in this area and the Devils at the same time were dominant and winning several cups. So, when it comes time for the NHL to award winter classics, it could reward those loyal fans who have stuck with their team and the league or it could try to find the flavor of the week. It wouldn't be so bad if it the NHL didn't award the penguins their second winter classic before giving 2 of the original 6 (Toronto also) a game. I don't even care if it was in NY or somewhere else. The point is that the NHL treats its established franchises like it doesn't need them. Some may counter and say that the Rangers aren't marketable enough or that the Pens and Caps are more interesting, but I would argue that is only because the NHL doesn't market the Rangers at all (and doesn't market the Flyers, Red Wings, etc.). Yet, the Rangers have 10 players on their roster that are 26 or younger, including important pieces like Staal, Callahan, Dubinsky, Del Zotto and Anisimov. They have one of the more dynamic players in the league in Marion Gaborik, who is certainly not the same caliber player as Ovechkin or Crosby but is definitely in the next tier of player. They have Lundqvist, who is an excellent goalie. I bring this all up because the Rangers are simply not marketed and yet, being in the NY market, I see more NHL promos for the Pens and Caps then I do for the Rangers. I don't mean to demean the Caps and Pens, they are both talented teams but how does the NHL think its going to draw in more fans if it does no marketing in its largest and most established markets? I'm also not saying the NHL shouldn't market the Pens and Caps...but I mean how about a little bit of respect for those markets that have been in the NHL the longest and who have helped create a profitable league? Its as if the NHL says to NY or Toronto that they could care less about marketing those teams because they know people will show up no matter what. That is no way to treat your most ardent fans in the largest media markets in the US and Canada. Maybe that is why the NHL is always a struggling league.

December 22, 2010  09:53 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

This is starting to get very East-centric. I know there aren't as many teams in the Western Conference that could host an outdoor game, but shouldn't he be trying to put this kind of event somewhere where the team could use the extra income? And yes, I'm aware of Calgary's game this year, but the games in Canada aren't the point of these events.-Minnesota won't host till they are good enough, I assume.-Seems like Colorado would be a beauty host...think of the landscape shots, etc. Not like the Broncos are going to be playing in January next year either.-Columbus could use some excitement. Hosted the WJCs well a few years back.-St. Louis keeps being respectableI know NY is the centre of the North American sports universe, but why put this event in a town where it won't even be the hottest ticket?

The only problem I see with Western Conference, non-Canadian teams is interest. Unless Chicago or Detroit go again, you're going to be hard pressed to generate any kind of National interest in the game.

Right now:
-the Wild is wildly mediocre
-St. Louis, while up and coming, is average (and could they hold it there? Is it cold enough?)
-Columbus is average and has no big rivalry

That leaves Colorado which would be a good place I agree. But who would you pit them against and who would you promote for the game?

December 22, 2010  09:54 AM ET
QUOTE(#12):

I know I'll get jumped on by fans of the Pens and the Caps but a few short years ago, both franchises were down in the dumps, with low attendance, talk of relocation and low fan support.

Yup, you will...

December 22, 2010  09:55 AM ET

and as a PS, I bring the Rangers into it because thats what I know...but I use them as an example and I'm sure there are fans of other teams that feel the same way as me but about their own franchise and I think its just as valid an argument about several other teams...I mean, the Flyers are the best team in hockey right now (it hurts to say it) and yet, when they beat the Penguins and snapped the penguins streak, all i read was about Crosby's streak continuing. The real story is that the Flyers are playing lights out hockey right now with good goaltending and that was not the narrative.

December 22, 2010  09:58 AM ET

They need to go up north, way up north, and find a friggin pond or lake that's frozen and play a game there Mystery Alaska-ish.

Aside from that fantasy, they do seriously need to play a game somewhere in the west or midwest. If they can't manage that, then put Philly and Pittsburgh in Happy Valley. I hate to say Pittsburgh seeing as how they've been picked for a couple of these already, but who else would you play there? Montreal maybe?

Happy Valley seating capacity is officially 107,282. It is the 2nd largest stadium in the western hemisphere and 4th largest in the world and it would sell out. How much revenue would that generate i wonder?

December 22, 2010  09:59 AM ET
QUOTE(#12):

I know I'll get jumped on by fans of the Pens and the Caps but a few short years ago, both franchises were down in the dumps, with low attendance, talk of relocation and low fan support.

Thread de-rail in 5, 4, 3, 2...

December 22, 2010  10:01 AM ET
QUOTE(#12):

I know I'll get jumped on by fans of the Pens

Long story short and I don't want to get into this, but the Pens had 3 years (01-02 through 03-04) with down attendance. Prior to that, they were among the tops in the League sinece the early Lemieux years. In 2006 they were at 96.9% capacity and have been over 100% since 2007 with no sign of that ending any time soon.

December 22, 2010  10:07 AM ET
QUOTE(#12):

As far as I am concerned, the Winter Classic is a big slap in the face to established, healthy franchises. The NHL likes to push its success stories, the Pittsburghs and Washingtons to the detriment of those franchises that have unwavering support. I know I'll get jumped on by fans of the Pens and the Caps but a few short years ago, both franchises were down in the dumps, with low attendance, talk of relocation and low fan support. Add in 4 or 5 years of top 5 draft choices and now those teams are quite popular and competitive. Don't get me wrong, I think its terrific to see those cities enjoying their teams and its good for the NHL. That being said, there are fan bases in the US, such as the Rangers, Flyers, Sabres and Red Wings to name a few that have long histories and huge fan bases that support their team despite their place in the standings. The Rangers didn't make the playoffs between 97 and the lock out and yet MSG was packed for every home game. Its easy to say that is because the NY area is so populous but there are 3 teams in this area and the Devils at the same time were dominant and winning several cups. So, when it comes time for the NHL to award winter classics, it could reward those loyal fans who have stuck with their team and the league or it could try to find the flavor of the week. It wouldn't be so bad if it the NHL didn't award the penguins their second winter classic before giving 2 of the original 6 (Toronto also) a game. I don't even care if it was in NY or somewhere else. The point is that the NHL treats its established franchises like it doesn't need them. Some may counter and say that the Rangers aren't marketable enough or that the Pens and Caps are more interesting, but I would argue that is only because the NHL doesn't market the Rangers at all (and doesn't market the Flyers, Red Wings, etc.). Yet, the Rangers have 10 players on their roster that are 26 or younger, including important pieces like Staal, Callahan, Dubinsky, Del Zotto and Anisimov. They have one of the more dynamic players in the league in Marion Gaborik, who is certainly not the same caliber player as Ovechkin or Crosby but is definitely in the next tier of player. They have Lundqvist, who is an excellent goalie. I bring this all up because the Rangers are simply not marketed and yet, being in the NY market, I see more NHL promos for the Pens and Caps then I do for the Rangers. I don't mean to demean the Caps and Pens, they are both talented teams but how does the NHL think its going to draw in more fans if it does no marketing in its largest and most established markets? I'm also not saying the NHL shouldn't market the Pens and Caps...but I mean how about a little bit of respect for those markets that have been in the NHL the longest and who have helped create a profitable league? Its as if the NHL says to NY or Toronto that they could care less about marketing those teams because they know people will show up no matter what. That is no way to treat your most ardent fans in the largest media markets in the US and Canada. Maybe that is why the NHL is always a struggling league.

I get what you are saying, but let's look at the big picture here. Most hockey fans are loyal fans who put up with a lot of crap. Why market to those people? You already have them in your pocket. Their money is already spent. Instead, market to the marginal fan and draw them in. This is how the dwarf operates. This is the driving idea behind the expansion and this is why all you see on TV is Ovie and Sid. This is the philosophy that goes into the marketing of the game. They aren't concerned with rewarding your loyalty as much as they are about getting new fans. The bottom line is money.

December 22, 2010  10:09 AM ET
QUOTE(#19):

Long story short and I don't want to get into this, but the Pens had 3 years (01-02 through 03-04) with down attendance. Prior to that, they were among the tops in the League sinece the early Lemieux years. In 2006 they were at 96.9% capacity and have been over 100% since 2007 with no sign of that ending any time soon.

Not arguing with you there...Pittsburgh is a good sports town, no question. But attendance was indeed down and the team struggled on an off the ice. I am only pointing that out because now the Penguins get their second winter classic when some of the other franchises wait for their first

 
December 22, 2010  10:16 AM ET
QUOTE(#21):

Not arguing with you there...Pittsburgh is a good sports town, no question. But attendance was indeed down and the team struggled on an off the ice. I am only pointing that out because now the Penguins get their second winter classic when some of the other franchises wait for their first

Yeah, but Pittsburgh doesn't make those decisions. We bust their balls for it, but they aren't the ones putting Sid in every commercial. That's the dwarf dude.

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