What We Learned: Does the NHL really need more outdoor games? (Puck Daddy)

Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it. Lost in all the justifiable hullabaloo about the NHL and NHLPA's new and improved and surprisingly reasonable conference realignment plans last night was a report from The Fourth Period that made me want to scream. To summarize: The NHL will hold this season's canceled Winter Classic between Toronto and Detroit next year, but is also interested in adding games at Yankee and Dodger Stadiums, seemingly to be played over the course of a few weeks following the game in Ann Arbor. Further, the League might also bring back the Heritage Classic for next season as well, perhaps played in either Vancouver or Edmonton, and presumably serving as the dessert for the main course of the Wings/Leafs game. Now, this should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone who has been paying even the slightest bit of attention. Financial experts' estimates show the NHL cost itself $328.2 million in "brand value" because of the lockout. One great way to recoup those losses is to have a whole bunch of outdoor games that make the league a real lot of money in what are, not coincidentally I'm sure, the two biggest U.S. media markets. Obviously Yankee Stadium and Dodger Stadium don't seat nearly as many people as the Big House, but games involving, say, the Rangers and Penguins or Kings and Sharks on those stages will make the league a silly amount of money. Same goes for Vancouver hosting Montreal, or whomever, up in Canada. Gary Bettman can spend that entire few weeks rolling around in the giant piles of money the NHL will make from ticket sales, sponsorships, TV ad revenue, and merchandise sales, and no one could blame him even a little bit. It would be a huge deal for the league, and not just monetarily. In theory, all those markets would be absolutely tickled to get outdoor games of their own, and because of their size of those markets and the relative novelty of outdoor games being played there, it could charge whatever it wanted for tickets, and people would pay it. On the other hand, this plan is awful and shouldn't be allowed to happen.

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