I'm sure it will sell out, given the proximity of Ann Arbor to Hockeytown and all the Canadian Laffs-fans. This kind of spectacle isn't the kind of thing I'd go out of my way to attend, at this point in my lazy, jaded life, but I will be watching avidly on TV. Nice event to have on New Year's Day, too, especially now that they don't have the big college football bowls on that date anymore.
NHL finalizes 'Big House' Winter Classic between Red Wings, Maple Leafs
The NHL has finalized the teams and venue for the 2013 Winter Classic, according to MLive.com: The Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs will play on Jan. 1, 2013 at "The Big House," the University of Michigan's football stadium.
Those specifics of the game had been reported as in the works for weeks, but Wednesday's report is the first to classify the talks as finalized.
'The Big House' holds more than 110,000 people. (AP Photo)
The league itself denied that the deal was done. (If) and when anything is a done deal regarding the Winter Classic, it will be announced. We have made no announcements yet," deputy commissioner Bill Daly told the Globe and Mail.
Other NHL sources, according to the Globe and Mail, said an agreement between the league and the University of Michigan is 90 to 95 percent finished but a few important issues need to be resolvedincluding the fact no alcohol is allowed to be sold at Michigan Stadium.
The biggest outcome of the decision, if and when it's actually done: More than 110,000 fans figure to watch the NHL's signature event in person, which would smash the previous record, set in 2011 at Pittsburgh's Heinz Field, by about 40,000.
In addition to the alcohol situation, there are two prominent reported potential roadblocks to a Big House Classic: Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch's desire to hold the game at downtown Detroit's Comerica Park and the fact that Canadian TV viewers don't help broadcast partner NBC's ratings.
To appease Ilitch, according to the report, a rink will be constructed at Comerica, and the home of the Detroit Tigers will host other events leading up to the Classic, including the alumni game.
TV ratings, meanwhile, dipped for the 2012 game between the Flyers and Rangers in Philadelphia and are unlikely to fall much farther, regardless of whether a Canadian team is involved. Plus, the amenities at Michigan Stadiumthe sheer volume of seats and luxury boxes, specificallywill create a larger revenue stream for the league.
An official announcement, according to MLive.com, is expected to come in early February.
The Red Wings played in the 2009 Classic at Wrigley Field against the Chicago Blackhawks.
Posted on Jan 18, 2012, 11:09 AM from IP address 22.214.171.124