Well, halfway through this set of 6 2013-14 outdoor games, it is becoming more apparent to me that it is a good idea, but it is more for the in-stadium experience than it is for the television viewing audience.
For the “winter games” the nostalgia of playing outdoors in the elements, whether it be snow, rain, sleet is enjoyable. Getting back to the roots of the game is a trip down memory lane for many Canadian hockey fans. But the television experience just isn’t there. After the first few minutes the game simply becomes a game and in the case of the Winter Classic, a boring one. The endless breaks to shovel off the ice actually forced me to turn away.
The outdoor “warm weather” games like last night’s Anaheim Ducks – Los Angeles Kings tilt was interesting in that they played on a frozen sheet of ice in freaking California.
The novelty might wear off for the television audience, but judging by the enthusiasm of the fans and players, passing the outdoor games around the league so that every market that has a suitable option eventually gets to host a game is certainly a good thing.
The experience, publicity and overall attraction to the games can only help to increase exposure in the markets that need it, and they will benefit the most from having more games.
If every year sees the same usual suspect – Pittsburgh, Chicago, New York and Detroit – then the opportunity will be wasted because it will indeed be overkill for those teams and their fan bases. So while you might get tired of them all being broadcast and the big deal might become watered down, think of the 50,000 (or 100,000) fans packing into the stadiums that get to experience it for the first (or second) time.
And just as a side note – the ice looks way better in a football stadium than a baseball field.