Is Gary Bettman really this money hungry?
Brady Lang considers outdoor hockey games.
Article: Brady Lang – Sports Writer
With the sixth- and final- outdoor game this season concluding last Sunday, the NHL has now grabbed as much money out of the fans that they can. Even after nearly losing the whole fan base of the NHL in a lockout last season, Bettman and his band of merry men have managed to erase the bitter past in just a year.
But if the outdoor games are working, why not take it another step?
We’ve seen how stadiums such as BC Place, Rogers Centre in Toronto, and the possibility of the new Riders stadium having a retractable roof, so why can’t the NHL do it?
Imagine walking into a stadium on any given night and being able to watch an NHL game under the stars?
One problem that we’d be faced with is the possibility of the weather reeking havoc on the game. However, if the roof is retractable they could just close the roof for a night and play a regular NHL game on any given night.
This could be a selling feature for a team to lure players onto their respectable teams, but it does have that double edge sword kind of feel to it. You have to now take into account location, fan base, expectations, etc. so this idea may not be doable right now in any Canadian city other than Vancouver.
The only way to make this sustainable, however, would be to put it in a rich hockey market. A possibility that we could see would be somewhere in the northern U.S. states such as Minnesota or Colorado due to their market in their respective cities.
This idea may sound insane, but with the amount of games being played outside- and the variety of hockey markets that the games are in- I don’t think that it is out of the question.
Another factor we could look at would be that of the death of games like the Winter Classic, Heritage Classic, and the new Stadium Series. The NHL and the teams that play in these games make tons of money on merchandise, ticket sales and sponsors so the NHL will most likely keep the outdoor games as a spectacle rather than a full time thing.
As a hockey fan, we can dream. Home ice advantage would be back into consideration every night if this idea took flight. The NHL always talks about going back to their roots and this would be a great way to do it. It may sound a little absurd, but six outdoor NHL games in one season sounds pretty absurd to say the least- especially when one of those games was played at Dodger Stadium in California.