This column appeared in the Detroit Free Press yesterday by one of their sports/opinion coumnists. Now Michael Rosenberg is pretty much one of the biggest idiots they have on staff there. However, he does raise a few interesting points.
Hosting the Winter Classic in Detroit does present a number of options which the NHL can "experiment" with. In my opinion, The SPIRIT of the Winter Classic belongs at Comerica Park. However, the REVENUE of the Winter Classic makes it hard to pass up Ann Arbor. Here’s the kicker… There are many thousands of fans who would pay the money to see a Winter Classic. So much so, that they need a lottery to keep it fair. Now is that number 110,000? If not, then the prices have to drop in order to fill the place, which brings the ratio back to Comerica Park. An attendance record is meaningless if you don’t get the revenue to back it up. And they would be truly embarrased if Michigan Stadium wasn't filled to capacity for this.
I don't think I'd want to split up the Winter Classic festivities between two cities that are an hour apart (without traffic). That also means there would have to be two ice rinks built, decorated, and sustained during that period. Obviously the NHL would only be responsible for one, but that said, if one rink is of less quality than the other one, why would anyone bother to play on it?
I say forget the U of M stadium and the attendance record. Put the Winter Classic in Comerica Park in a very vibrant part of a legendary city which is doing its best to bring itself back from the hell it's been put through. I've spent a lot of time in Ann Arbor. There's nothing there. Particularly around the stadium Matter of fact, directly across the street from the stadium is.....a high school and a golf course..... Comerica Park is surrounded by bars, restaraunts, clubs, theaters...much more enticing to the fan looking for a Hockey Weekend in Hockeytown.
If the NHL still has faith in what it touts as the class and tradition of the world's greatest game, then don't put it in Ann Arbor just to sell more tickets....
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