The NHL is almost finished with its outdoor hockey bonanza experiment and the results seem to be favorable for the league. Although there are things that could be improved with the outdoor games, the Stadium Series has generated positive buzz for the game of hockey.
If the NHL continues to schedule more outdoor games, Nashville may be on the list to either play or host an outdoor hockey game. This gimmick looks like it may continue to spread and maybe, just maybe, Nashville might get a chance to join in the outdoor fun.
You may be wondering why a member of the Nashville Predators media would even entertain the idea of an outdoor game in Nashville. If that’s the case, you can blame the Phoenix Coyotes, who lately have been pretty vocal about wanting the ‘Yotes to host an outdoor game in the desert. You can also blame it on Jim Hughson of Hockey Night in Canada, who talked about Nashville and the outdoor games. After seeing the outdoor game in Los Angeles, we know that a game in a warmer climate isn’t a crazy idea after all. So now Nashville fans are talking about going outside to watch a game.
Let me just ask the question: Should Nashville host an outdoor game?
Short answer: If the NHL wants to keep the outdoor games as a tradition and something special, Nashville should not get the opportunity. From a business perspective, my opinion is the NHL should go back to having two outdoor games a year with top-market teams. The Winter Classic in the United States and the Heritage Classic in Canada should keep casual fans entertained without overdoing the gimmick of outdoor hockey. The NHL should sell the big stars and the top teams in the premiere venues once a year to try and bring in new fans. Overselling the gimmick won’t generate the same amount of buzz in the future that it did this year. It will just get lost in the news feed.
On the other hand, if the NHL wants to continue this philosophy of “more is better” then they may have to host games in the smaller markets in order to get fans excited in those areas. LP Field should be given an opportunity to host a outdoor game to get southern hockey fans something to talk about and grow the game of hockey in the Southeast. If the NHL is going to keep pushing these games, then Nashville should be considered as a host. And I totally want to go.