Hockey World Blog

Sabres, Rangers Headline 2018 Winter Classic

The NHL Winter Classic is heading back to the once-sung “Greatest City in the World”.

The National Hockey League announced today that the 10th anniversary of the New Year’s Day outdoor game will feature the Buffalo Sabres taking on the New York Rangers at Citi Field in Queens.

If you remember the inaugural event in 2008, Buffalo hosted Pittsburgh that resulted in Sidney Crosby scoring the game-winning shootout goal while snow was falling. That game proved out to be a hit among hockey fans and led to a plethora of spin-off outdoor games since under the Heritage Classic and Stadium Series banners.

“After hosting the first NHL Winter Classic in 2008, we are happy to be able to celebrate the 10-year anniversary by playing in the 2018 game,” said Sabres President Russ Brandon. “We look forward to participating in this marquee event and helping to promote the great game of hockey on such a large scale.”

“The New York Rangers are honored to once again be a part of one of the NHL’s signature events,” said New York Rangers President Glen Sather. “The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic represents everything that is great about our game. Playing in the Winter Classic and Stadium Series in recent years was a tremendous experience for our organization and we look forward to yet another opportunity to celebrate the game of hockey, together with all our fans, in New York City.”

Ticketing and other information will be available at a later date. We do know that Bridgestone will return as title sponsor and will remain so until 2021 as they recently extended their partnership with the NHL. Their sponsorship has proved to be beneficial for their brand as Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic games have been five of the top six most-watched regular season games in the United States since 1975.

“The Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic® continues to be the League’s marquee outdoor game each season, as well as a centerpiece in our own strategic, season-long sports activation,” said Phil Pacsi, Vice President of Sports/Events Marketing and Training at Bridgestone Americas. “Throughout our longstanding partnership, this special game has allowed Bridgestone to strengthen its relationship with the passionate, performance-minded hockey fans in North America and around the world, and it’s a privilege to help celebrate its 10th anniversary.”

This will be the sixth-time the Winter Classic has been held in a baseball stadium. Citi Field has a seated capacity of 41,922 but its attendance record with standing-room availability was the 2013 MLB All-Star Game that 45,186 fans witnessed. For comparison, the highest-attended Winter Classic in a baseball stadium was 46,967 in 2012 in Philadelphia. That figure was just over 300 more than the seated capacity of 43,651.

 

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