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NHL Set To Score With Next Winter Classic

March 19, 2009: The NHL will confirm during the Stanley Cup finals that it will go ahead with the third outdoor Winter Classic, to be played Jan. 1, 2010. A site also will be named, with the new Yankee Stadium considered the front runner and the New York Rangers potentially listed as the home team. Boston's Fenway Park and nearby Gillette Stadium also are top contenders. The Winter Olympics in Vancouver in February 2010 means there will be no NHL All-Star Game, giving the Winter Classic even more importance to the league in terms of marketing, fans and TV ratings. The first two Winter Classics proved to be bigger successes than even the NHL had anticipated. The Bridgestone Winter Classic this past Jan. 1 at Wrigley Field garnered NBC TV's highest ratings for a regular season NHL game since 1975 and was 12% higher than NBC's telecast of the Jan. 1, 2008 Winter Classic played in Buffalo, N.Y., where Pepsi's Amp Energy was title sponsor. "The league has carved a unique space for itself on New Year's Day among all the college football bowl games," said John Cimperman, managing partner at Cenergy Communications, located just outside of Buffalo, which worked closely with the NHL on the first Winter Classic and with NHL Network on the second. "The league gets tremendous national exposure, which is what marketing and media partners look for." League partners are on board for multi-media activation, including Bridgestone, which said it would want to return as a title sponsor. "We are trying to build brand awareness for Bridgestone," said John Baratta, president, replacement tire sales U.S. and Canada consumer tire sales division for Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire. "So when you are investing in something, you want to make sure you are reaching your target audience. With the NHL, we get exactly what we are looking for." The NHL already has announced it would open the 2009-10 regular season on Oct. 2-3 with two games in Stockholm between the Detroit Red Wings and St. Louis Blues and two games in Helsinki between the Chicago Blackhawks and Florida Panthers. "The NHL Winter Classic has really become a signature event for the league," said Robert Tuchman, president of sponsorship and marketing firm Premiere Corporate Events, New York. "They stumbled upon a great idea that is unique and special and different then other things being done around sports." Back to Home Page



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