Friday, January 4, 2008

What a Show on Ice


New Years day, there were not many options on TV except college football, college football oh and there was this thing on ESPN 2 HD…….college football. Lo and behold the one bright spot was the 2008 Winter Classic, where Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins took on the Buffalo Sabres of Chris Drur…oh wait, I mean Daniel Br….ahhhhhh, oh yeah Ryan Miller, that is it, Ryan Miller. I can not just watch a hockey game on VS just because it is on, but this was a must see.

I must say this should be an annual event. Were there glitches, was the ice hard to keep up with, yes, but for all the kinks this was an unreal showcase for hockey. They get the right combination of players/teams they can really help sell the sport. Can you see the Meadowlands packed with Rangers and Devils fans next year or another Original 6 team vs. any Canadian team? Hockey is the 4th biggest sport, you thrown in NASCAR and you are looking at a distant 5th ranked sport.

This New Years I can guarantee people checked this game out and that is good for hockey. The weather was tough and snow hurt flow of game but any positive exposure for hockey is worth the hassle. Buffalo made a ton of money for there town in hotels and other revenue associated with same (restaurants, local shops etc etc.). I mean 73,000 packed an arena to watch hockey, I am sure they spent some money in Buffalo area this New Years. (Estimates from below article indicate a $ 5 Million in local revenue raised).

I read an article on ESPN.com which I feel was completely off the mark, want to check it out here is the link:

(http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/columns/story?columnist=burnside_scott&id=3176569)

How are you a hockey writer and not like the exposure this gave hockey. Channel 4 made this a prime event on New Years Day. Read through the comment section and the first comment that jumped out was this from a reader of article:

“I live in the heart of football country and football is my favorite sport. So what did I watch this New Year's Day? Hockey! It was great to watch. Make it an annual tradition. Maybe even on Christmas Day, if the NHL doesn't want to compete with college football.”

If that comment from a reader does not sum up what winter classic did for hockey and that it should not be an annual thing, I do not know what does. Football and other fans just looking for a sport looked to hockey.

Next year New Years day anyone want to tailgate and go to the Meadowlands to watch some outdoor hockey…I got the beer you bring the food. God, I hope Jagr is off the team he will cry all the way to the ice mumbling something about Nylander and the cold.

1 comment:

The Gallaghers said...

Yes, I read that same article. While I think Burnside made some decent points (What if Crosby blew out his knee when his skate gets stuck?), but overall, a great marketing device and something hockey sorely needs. Despite the improvement in the league since the lockout, there is still "something" missing in the game. Contraction is probably the answer, but that will never happen.