The NHL Winter Classic has made its way into the schedule of every season in North America. It attracts a huge amount of spectators with every game and it seems that every NHL franchise is hosting its own Winter Classic nowadays. A huge success in North America, but what succeeded in the NHL hasn’t made its way into our schedule. Should some NLA teams think of another try? And where could this work?
We remember the first try of a NLA winter classic a few years ago between Geneva and Lausanne. Back then, Geneva was hosting its rival in front of a huge crowd of 30’000 spectators. Not as huge as the crowds in North America, but still a respectable figure for Swiss crowds. Unfortunately the lack of know-how was a big issue. The ice wasn’t hard enough and the rink wasn’t really up to the job. Adding to that the whole event seemed a little stiff and one noticed the lack of experience. Nevertheless this idea seems promising not only in the NHL, but also in Switzerland.
If these issues could be solved by getting some know-how from over Sea, this idea still seems promising. Not only the teams could be profiting from a Winter Classic, but also the Swiss ice hockey federation. A Winter Classic is a commercial success and attracts a huge crowd, the Winter Classic back in 2014 confirmed this and at the same time commercializes Swiss ice hockey.
First of all we should take a look at the most promising match ups that would attract a huge crowd. These match ups would therefore be ideal:
HC Lugano – HC Ambri-Piotta
ZSC Lions – EHC Kloten
Genève Servette HC – HC Lausanne
SC Bern – SCL Tigers
HC Davos – ZSC Lions
Where should it take place? Well there aren’t many places in Switzerland, where a huge crowd could find space in an open air event. Football stadiums are still the cheapest and prabably best option.
When? The best time of the year for such games is at the Winter break of the Swiss football league and would therefore be ideal for such open air games.
How? Commercializing an event is the most important thing you should do, to make an event successful. Both participating teams should therefore split the costs to try and attract the biggest possible amount of spectators. In most football stadiums there would be enough space for both, the home and away fans! Splitting the costs and splitting the earnings from such an event could end up in a win-win situation for both participants. Not only would this be a gain for the teams, but also Swiss ice hockey!
A lot seems to be speaking for the repeat of a NLA Winter Classic, still there are some issues there need to be solved to make such an event profitable in Switzerland. With the right marketing strategies and a bit of know-how from North America this could end up on the regular National League schedule!