29 January 2014

Will we see more outdoor NHL games in the future?

We are halfway through the 2014 NHL Stadium Series, a series of four outdoor games this year featuring such venues as Dodger Stadium, Yankee Stadium (twice), and Soldier Field. The Ducks faced off with the Kings on Saturday night in Chavez Ravine (Anaheim winning 3-0), the Devils took on the Rangers in the Bronx (New York winning 7-3), said Rangers will host the Islanders tonight while the Blackhawks will host the Penguins on March 1st. And thus far, the response has been very positive for the NHL as both games featured full crowds and excellent ratings for NBCSN and NBC.

With the successful showing thus far, as well as the strong crowd for the 2014 Winter Classic in Ann Arbor, will we see more outdoor games in the future?

It looks, as per TSN's Darren Dreger that we will see four outdoor games next year, and there appears to be a ton of interest from coast to coast, and across the border.
Four seems like a good number, you don't want to saturate the market with too many outdoor games, but you also want to meet a demand. And as shown, the demand is clearly there even as the hockey generally is not great (but not awful either), because these games have helped to create a mainstream interest in the NHL that generally has not been there in the past. The crowds are impressive, especially considering that few seats will provide a quality perspective of the action, and the ratings both north and south of the border have been good, which is important for NBC Sports as the NHL is one of their marquee properties both OTA and with their aforementioned sports network.

It appears that the outdoor games are here to stay, and they just may be coming to a stadium near you.

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