Biz Notes: Winter Classic, sponsorships, schedule changesBy
As Tom Kaminski in Chopper 880 continues to chart the demolition of Yankee Stadium, we have some business stories to tackle concerning the Yanks and their new home.
On New Years Day in Boston, the NHL will host its second annual Winter Classic. The Bruins and the Flyers will face off on a hockey rink in Fenway Park, and it will be very, very cold. Still, the event has been a boon for the beleaguered NHL, and the league would love to host a marquee event on the grandest stage in baseball. To that end, Sean Leahy of Puck Daddy explores just how soon it will be until Yankee Stadium could host the Winter Classic. The answer, unfortunately, is not too soon.
Leahy’s piece delves in depth into the inter-sport problems. Because the NHL requires a seven-day build time to prep the outdoor venue for a hockey game and because the Yanks have committed to hosting a bowl game and perhaps another college football game at Yankee Stadium over the next few winters, the schedules simply do not work out. Leahy notes, though, that hockey could either host a New York Winter Classic at CitiField or the new football stadium in New Jersey. Otherwise, the league could build up the event in smaller markets and make a New York debut on New Years Day in 2014.
I’m not a huge hockey fan, but it would be great to see the Winter Classic come to New York and Yankee Stadium. Bringing the NHL’s top regular season event to baseball’s center stage would truly be special.
On Friday, Sports Business Journal had an update on the state of the Yanks’ sponsorships. After winning the World Series, the Yanks have seen their sponsorship rates for 2010 already surpass the 2009 figured. Team officials declined to name a price or the number of new sponsors, but Yankees COO Lonn Trost was pleased with the current pace of activity. “We have already exceeded last year’s sponsorship revenue and continue to track very well on that,” he said.
Unsurprisingly, SBJ notes that the Yomiuri Shimbun, the Japanese newspaper who had been advertising in the outfield since 2002, neglected to re-up their deal with the Yanks. While many are inclined to blame the departure of Hideki Matsui for the end of this deal, Trost told SBJ that Yomiuri had already declined to renew, citing a distressed global newspaper industry.
SBJ also notes that the Yanks are “performing several facility tweaks” to the new stadium but adds that the “second-year punch list is relatively small compared to those for other recently opened ballparks.” The trade notes that the grandstand will now include “party deck” but declined to reveal more. We’ll have more about that once we uncover the details.
Finally, we end with some news on the first week of the season. The Yankees and Red Sox have officially closed their two-day gap at the beginning of the year. Opening Day will still be on a Sunday night in early April in Boston, but game two of the season will now be on Tuesday, April 6. Game three will be Wednesday, April 7, and both teams will be off on Monday and Thursday. All three games that week will be at night, and temperatures are expected to be in the low 40s come first pitch. Starting the season in Boston at night strikes me as foolish, but that’s the way it goes.