The National Hockey League yesterday shot down House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s lobbying efforts to make Boston the permanent host of the league’s annual outdoor Winter Classic.
The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates the third annual event will inject $36 million into the local economy after 2 weeks of events wrap up this weekend inside Fenway Park [map]. Rep. DeLeo (D-Winthrop) wanted the city to continue to reap those benefits with a yearly game featuring the Boston Bruins [team stats].
But NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the number of similar requests from other cities is growing rapidly.
“. . . The dictates of fairness require the league to share the Winter Classic experience with other cities,” he said in a letter to DeLeo. “One truly special attribute of the Winter Classic is its uniqueness, and we intend to preserve that precious resource on behalf of our clubs, our business partners and our fans.”
Bettman didn’t rule out bringing back the Classic to Boston at some point. “Based on its outstanding performance as our host city in 2010, Boston is - and will be - considered in an extremely favorable light when Winter Classic sites and participants are being considered in the years to come,” he wrote.
The Winter Classic is a great way to sell the city, DeLeo said.
I think it would be cool if every NHL city had an outdoor game every other year. One year one the road, one year at home.
Obviously it makes each particular game less prestigious, but overall I think it would be a huge hit. Would probably be a huge huge pain in the ass logistically as well (southern cities, plus the sheer number of venues involved).
The overnight television ratings for the Winter Classic are in and, not surprisingly, the numbers were down from last year.
The NHL's third annual New Year's Day outdoor game, which this year pitted the Philadelphia Flyers against the Bruins at Boston's Fenway Park, seemed to generate just as much interest as the two previous contests, but the ever- important TV ratings showed a different story.
The overnight numbers from the game revealed a 2.6 Nielsen rating, marking a 10.3-percent decline from the 2009 Winter Classic, which featured the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings battling it out in Wrigley Field.
Could it be that the NHL's highest-profile regular-season game is losing its luster or was the ratings dip due to some other issue, one that could be corrected perhaps? Most likely, ratings for the event are just leveling off, a trend that is inevitable for every television program this side of American Idol.
First of all, the number drawn by the Flyers-Bruins clash, which Boston won, 2-1, in overtime, was not by any means a disaster for the NHL. The 2.6 rating still represents the league's second-best regular-season showing since 1996. The best, of course, was last year's Winter Classic, which pulled a 2.9 rating.
The ratings may also have been lowered thanks to some bad luck when it came to the Philadelphia market. The Flyers had to go head-to-head with Penn State football and it should come as no surprise that the Nittany Lions won that battle.
The hockey team has a passionate fan base in Philly, but the Flyers had little chance of outdrawing Penn State, especially when you're talking about a New Year's Day bowl game going up against a regular-season NHL game. In the end, the Penn State-LSU Capital One Bowl, which began coverage at 1 p.m. (ET) just like the Winter Classic, posted a 10 overnight rating to easily win the day in the Philadelphia market.
Was it really that successful? I haven't seen what the TV ratings were for this year. I know the tickets cost a butt load, but how much money went into it in the first place for advertising, etc?
It made a lot of money and, even with the ratings taking a bit of a hit (Penn State playing and more interesting bowl games, imo), it was still one of the most successful hockey games ratings wise in the last 15 years.
Before the season, this was supposed to be a potential precursor to the conference finals. Instead, you bad a struggling Boston team and a Flyers team that was looking like an also-ran.