13 May 2011

2012 Winter Classic: Rangers vs. Flyers at Citizens Bank Park

It has been reported that the 2012 NHL Winter Classic will be held in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank Park as the Philadelphia Flyers will host the New York Rangers. The 2012 edition will be held on January 2nd of the New Year instead of the traditional New Year's Day slate to avoid a conflict with the NFL, which has a full slate of games on New Year's Day. It was reported that the Flyers would have liked to host the game at Lincoln Financial Field but that was scuttled due to the Eagles hosting the Redskins the day prior. Continue reading to view my take on this announcement for the fifth edition of the Winter Classic.
The Winter Classic is the biggest non-Stanley Cup Final property that the NHL holds now, in fact you could argue that it saved the NHL on network television. No one doubt that it has been a big ratings success and turned into something bigger than the NHL ever thought it would be.
As for the location, it's a seamless fit. The Flyers play in a rabid hockey town with a very good team and strong fan base. Citizens Bank is regarded to be a great venue, I've never been, as I've heard from varios folks. Although I would have loved to see the Winter Classic at Yankee Stadium, it couldn't have happened with that stupid bowl game, Philadelphia was my second choice.
And having the Rangers and Flyers play is a great choice. These clubs share an intense rivalry with two of the scummiest most passionate fanbases in the sport. The game should also draw a good rating and these are two of the biggest names in the NHL.
After signing the new deal with NBC/Versus, the NHL has been riding a wave of momentum and that wave continues with this smart decision.

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