Another weekend of outdoor hockey games has come and gone for the NHL. Another weekend where I didn’t spend a minute watching either game.
I don’t hate the idea of outdoor games but they have seemed to have lost their luster. The first couple of Winter Classic and Heritage Classic games were great. They brought back that old time feel of playing shinny out on the pond or on your backyard rink growing up with snowflakes cascading all around you. After the third one though, that was enough for me as I was watching at home on television.
These outdoor games played in baseball stadiums and football fields are meant to be watched in person. The experience of being in a famed sporting venue while watching a game of hockey under the lights and dark of night. Not at home on your couch squinting to see the puck because the camera is 8 million miles away.
Essentially, it’s a money grab. The whole Stadium Series shtick was brought up, at least in my mind anyway, as a way to suck fans back into the game from last year’s lockout and make money from all the revenue lost. New merchandise to be bought, crazy ticket prices and what have you. Great idea, marketed insanely well and it worked. Maybe too well. I mean hell, some of the baseball teams can’t even sell out their own stadiums.
How many more are we going to see of these though? It’s already lost its appeal to most hardcore fans around the league because of what I stated earlier; the camera angles are atrocious. The build up to them is kind of stupid as well. It’s nothing special, just another game albeit played outside.
My thinking is I hope the NHL will stick with what they know. Keep the Winter Classic and the Heritage Classic. If you really want to dabble with the Stadium Series, have one or two games. Not 5 or 6. The human mind gets sick of things quick. It’ll be just a matter of time before the next big marketing ploy comes knocking at Bettman’s door.