2013 NHL Winter Classic at the Big House (or Comerica)?

Submitted by Hardware Sushi on January 3rd, 2012 at 10:58 AM

Among NHL-insider circles, it is apparently a foregone conclusion that the 2013 Winter Classic will be hosted by Detroit.

The article linked here states that the NHL would love the opportunity to break 100k at the Big House, although hosting it there means sharing some of the revenue (and that isn't something in which Mike Illitch may be interested), so the event could still end up at Comerica Park.

Regardless of the final location, having the Red Wings host the Winter Classic can only be a good thing. They also mention a 'hockey celebration in Michigan' to go along with the GLI. Keep our fingers crossed for a Big House Winter Classic!



January 3rd, 2012 at 11:09 AM ^

I am really excited for this. I was at the Big Chill and just missed out on tickets to the WC in Chicago. The Big Chill was awesome and I think another game at Michigan Stadium would be cool. The thought of having the GLI at the site of the WC is a bad ass idea.

However, if I had to bet, I think it will end up at Comerica Park. I think Ilitch will want total control of the revenues. Either way, I plan on attending both the Winter Classic and the GLI at whatever site they choose to play at.

Hardware Sushi

January 3rd, 2012 at 11:16 AM ^

Yeah, definitely cool to have it come to Detroit either way. Red Wings + Michigan Stadium would just fuse my two favorite sports teams into one awesome Franken-event.

Considering Michigan will be in the national title game next year, we won't have to worry about them both playing on New Year's Day, either.


January 3rd, 2012 at 11:30 AM ^

Another potential opportunity to charche people to park in my lawn ? Im all for it.
<br>I really dont see the incentive for illitch to have it at the big house vs. comerica.... Just the attendance record ? Or would the extra seats at the big house offset the fees D.Brandon would no doubt impose ?


January 3rd, 2012 at 11:32 AM ^

Mike Illitch has no say in where the game is played. If the NHL wants it at the Big House, he'll have to deal with it. His owning the Detroit Tigers has nothing to do with hockey.

Hardware Sushi

January 3rd, 2012 at 11:39 AM ^

I find it hard to believe one of the most powerful owners in the NHL would NO say in where it is played in his town.

Does he get a special veto power? No, but I'm sure he can sweeten the deal to make it worth the NHL's while if he really wants it at Comerica. Plus, tickets go for more at a smaller venue and make up for some of the 40k+ seating; I don't know what kind of prices the NHL could charge on New Year's Day for 100k tickets and expect a packed house.

They won't want a Winter Classic at 50% capacity.

Frank Drebin

January 3rd, 2012 at 1:12 PM ^

So what you are saying is that a team owner has no say over where his team plays home games? Regardless of the fact that it is the WC, it is still a home game for Detroit and they will have some say in the matter. Also, as others have stated, they would rather pack comerica for a higher fee than have a 50-75% full big house. Either way, there is no way that the NHL stiff arms Illitch and doesn't give him a say in the matter.


January 3rd, 2012 at 11:57 AM ^

Yeah, you guys are right, I probably overstated it  a bit. Of course they will listen to his case and consider it.

But if you follow Gary Bettman's activity, you know that he does what he wants. The NHL will make the decision based on what is best for the NHL, not Mike Illitch, so if Mr. Illitch sweetens the deal then obviously that might work, but it might not. I'll say it again, Comerica Park and his owning of the Detroit Tigers has nothing to do with the NHL, they aren't out to do any favors. If it looks like the best option, then it will be there. If the best option is the Big House, then I'd bet my left nut that Illitch won't be able to do a thing about it.


January 3rd, 2012 at 11:43 AM ^

Do you think there would be an issue that the big house doesn't have the infastructure in place for beer sales? That is a huge amount of cash being left on the table by Ilitch

Chippewa Blue

January 3rd, 2012 at 12:27 PM ^

Is there a NCAA rule about alcohol being served in on-campus venues? Or is that for college events only? Also there could be a University policy about this that could prevent it from happening. Not saying they couldn't find ways around or solutions to these problems, just a few things to consider concerning the beer sales


January 3rd, 2012 at 11:55 AM ^

Would Dave Brandon, who would need to be a part of the negoiations, tell the NHL that "we learned a few things from the Big Chill" and we think that you need to cut off some of the seats, which would help prevent any embarrassment if they couldn't sell out the whole thing (possible) and would also keep the all-time hockey attendance record for Michigan?

I also wonder who the potential opponent might be.  The Maple Leafs would seem to be the natural pick, but I doubt NBC would be on board with that given the ratings hit.  The Bruins seem like a good choice because Original Six and all.  Would it be the Blackhawks in a return the favor situation?  Would it be the Kings to try and tap the Los Angeles market?  If it were the Kings, would it be a night game, which would likely set up to avoid the Big Ten's three 1:00 PM start time bowl games and the Rose Bowl (I have to believe this would be a small consideration for both Michigan and the NHL.)

Hardware Sushi

January 3rd, 2012 at 12:22 PM ^

Crossing my fingers for the Leafs!

No need to worry about selling out if it's against Toronto, more of an NBC issue that you mentioned. I see plenty of Leafs fans at games at the Joe, I can only imagine how many would make it for the Winter Classic!

Good points about start times. I like the atmosphere of having it under the lights, whether it was the Big Chill or yesterday's game compared to daytime Winter Classics.

Don Keypunch

January 3rd, 2012 at 12:27 PM ^

I'm farily sure that the Winter Classic is supposed to be between 2 American franchises to drum up interest in the game. That being said, NBC will continue their lust for all things Penguins and probably place them in the game against Detroit. Let the Crosby hype continue in 3,2,1..........


January 3rd, 2012 at 1:12 PM ^

I understand that the point of the WC is to drum up interest in the NHL, but why have the game played on the same day as one of college footballs biggest days?  It seems to me that the NHL should find a different date for the game, like the weekend between the last NFL playoff game and the superbowl.  There would be no college football to compete against and it will only be going against the 24/7 coverage of the superbowl and the Pro Bowl (the WC could be played on Jan 28th with the Pro Bowl on Sunday).

I dont follow the NHL very closely so maybe this would not work for other reasons, but when I came across the chance to watch the WC verse any college bowl game, the decision was pretty easy to make.  If the game was played on any day with no football I would probably watch. 


January 3rd, 2012 at 12:17 PM ^

On the topic of the Winter Classic.

Pretty awesome that Carl was part of the Rangers starting first line alongside Ryan Callahan and Brad Richards.


January 3rd, 2012 at 12:27 PM ^

I think it should be held at Comerica personally. Downtown Detroit needs all the revenue it can get. I think it will also be the Leafs.


January 3rd, 2012 at 12:37 PM ^

I dont know why anyone thinks it wouldnt sell out hockey fans from all over would attend it would sell out easy. Beer and alcohol would be simple to put in. The GLI being played there the week before would be huge too. It was only a mater of time before we see the Winter Classic at the Big House. Detroit Vs. LA seems likely but, I could see Detroit vs.San Jose as well its going to most likely be a west coast team, although Chicago would make sense to as the two cities are so close and this would make it easy to sell out the classic.


January 3rd, 2012 at 12:42 PM ^

Do you really think it makes sense to put the WC in the Big House up against The Rose Bowl?  What if Michigan is playing in the Rose Bowl?

I could see major issues trying to sell 100K tickets in a town full of people who will be watching a college football game.  Obviously, "outsiders" will come in for the game but it's very likely that Michigan (and Michigan State fans) could have other plans.

Comerica sounds like a smaller, safer bet for New Year's Day.




January 3rd, 2012 at 12:46 PM ^

I'd love to see the Leafs and believe a Wings/Leafs game could sellout, but I wonder how much consideration is given to TV ratings.  While fans in Detroit and Toronto long for the old rivalry, I just don't know if there's any real interest outside of our two markets.  The Black Hawks are a natural but as others said, they already played each other in the WC at Wrigley (I was on one of the left field rooftops for that game - freakin' cold up there - but awesome!).  I love the thought of a Wings/Bruins game too.  Man this whole thing would be a natural if the Wings were heading east in the new alignment.  could be a great buildup to the move.  But alas, not to be!


January 3rd, 2012 at 1:08 PM ^

Please let it be the sharks or kings. Game against Chicago has already been done and Toronto will never be good again. The West coast needs to be part of the WC already.


January 3rd, 2012 at 6:00 PM ^

The Big Chill sold out because of the University of Michigan Fans. Since most Michigan fans are football fans, they would rather watch college football on New Year Day instead of sitting outside in January for a meaningless pro hockey game. The game wouldn't sell more than 80,000 tickets. The missing 30,000 will be in Pasadena! Go Blue! Beat VT!