For those of you who think the upcoming 2014 Stadium Series or Heritage Classic is about hockey, then you’re kidding yourself. These upcoming five games are all about one thing: money. And, not just a little bit of money. No, for the NHL they will be making lots and lots of revenue from hockey fans that want to see a game either at Dodger Stadium, Yankee Stadium, BC Place or Solider Field.
If you haven’t seen what Gary Bettman and company are about unleash in the first Stadium Series game in LA just take a look at the title picture. Yes, your eyes aren’t playing tricks on you as there is a beach volleyball court, a roller hockey rink, swimming pool, and a giant stage for the band KISS to play on.
I’m not sure about you, in my opinion, only roller hockey seems like a fit in the realm of hockey. I’m not too sure if I’ve ever seen a beach volleyball court, or swimming pool next to any rinks while growing up in Pittsburgh, PA. However, maybe in LA they do pair their rinks with these things.
But, these games aren’t for the hockey fan, as much as the NHL wants to make it seem like. No, instead this is a play into grabbing the “casual” fan into watching all of the sideshow attractions going on. John Collins, NHL’s Chief Operating Officer, said in a recent interview that the goal is to reach $1 billion in national revenue.
He also went onto say about the pandering to advertisers and casual fans:
“We are reaching not just core fans and consumers but casual fans. With the merchandise, marketing, tickets and exposure on NBC, it’s like having another NHL franchise. This is not just about [title sponsors] Bridgestone, Coors Light and Tim Hortons. Pepsi, McDonald’s and all of our corporate marketing partners look at cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles as being important to their sales.”
The NHL has already cashed in from the 2014 Winter Classic in Michigan. According to Sports Business Journal, the NHL made $20million on the event. Merchandise sales, according to the website, was a 60% increase from the previous benchmark set in 2011 when the Pittsburgh Penguins hosted the Washington Capitals.
NBC and the league will go onto say how these four Stadium Series and the one Heritage Classic games will be about “taking the game back to its roots.” But, the real thing that the games will be doing is taking money out of fans pockets (from tickets and merchandise) and putting it into sponsors, networks and the league’s pockets.
Or, to simply put it as the Wu Tang Clan said, “Cash Rules Everything Around Me C.R.E.A.M. get the money dollar dollar bill y’all.”
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I’ve devoted most of my life to being a Pittsburgh sports fan. Currently, I live in Austin with my wife Sarah and our dogs Clooney and Maggie.. But, I had the pleasure of taking in all that is Austin, TX – mostly the Texas Stars American Hockey League franchise – for the past 4 years.