An interesting piece was posted in the Ann Arbor Post. Via Pete Cunningham:
Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon confirmed Thursday that he has been approached by the NHL about playing host for the Winter Classic, in what would be the league’s sixth annual New Year’s Day outdoor game.
“We have been approached by the NHL about utilizing our facility for the 2013 Winter Classic,” Brandon said in a statement. “There are a lot of complex circumstances that need to be ironed out before anything moves forward. We will have more to say if/when something materializes.”
While the NHL has yet to announce who will host next years Winter Classic, most people believe that Detroit is the most likely location for it. It perfectly fits the bill that Gary Bettman has stated, that it be held in a NHL City and in an appropriate Climate. It won’t be in a Canadian city for various reasons and won’t be held in a climate that isn’t cold, snowy, and can maintain a nice sheet of ice for a couple of days. Detroit fits the bill perfectly and now the question becomes where the game should be held, at the Illitch owned Comerica park, or the 115,000 seating University of Michigan stadium located in Ann Arbor.
In the article mentioned above it says that UofM has been approached by the NHL on whether it would won’t to hold the Classic. Obviously there are different cases for where it should be held but It makes perfect sense that it should be held in Ann Arbor. The biggest issue that most people have is that Comerica Park is owned by Mike Illitch which means he doesn’t have to pay Michigan for borrowing their stadium and he at the same time he creates good advertisement for him and the Detroit Tigers.
There are big differences between playing at Comerica Park and at the Big House. First of all the Big House has room for about 115,000, which is more than double the capacity of Comerica Park(41,000). The game would certainly be sold out and would create a lot of revenue for the Illitch family. Another factor is that the stadium would be rocking and it would be a home-field advantage for the Wings. I mean, imagine when the other team goes on a PP, they won’t be able to hear themselves think.
Of course with so many people going to the game, that means that Illitch will be able to sell way more jerseys and merchandise. However, despite all the potential financial benefits that he could get from having the game at the Big House, Mike is a Detroit guy and would certainly want to see his city host it.
Regardless of where it could be hosted the game would be a blast and I would buy a ticket as soon as they go on sale. We will just have to wait and see but It is of course very interesting to speculate.