The NHL has announced that there will be two games played outdoors at Lake Tahoe in 2021. The last outdoor game was played in 2019-20 in Colorado as part of the 2019-20 Stadium Series. Elliotte Friedman confirmed the two contests Friday morning.
Four teams — Boston, Colorado, Philadelphia and Vegas — are headed to Lake Tahoe in February: https://t.co/GDFc633pVD
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) January 1, 2021
NHL Announces Lake Tahoe Outdoor Games
It is certainly exciting that the NHL is attempting to create some sort of outdoor experience for the 2020-21 season. The league has produced several high-quality outdoor experiences in recent years. The games have often focused on some of the league’s traditional markets in the northeast or Canada, but these two games will be the first held in California since 2015.
They have certainly packed the two games with star power. The games will feature the Boston Bruins, Colorado Avalanche, Philadelphia Flyers, and Vegas Golden Knights. All four teams have their own reasons to expect Stanley Cup runs this year. Unfortunately, only about 400 people will be allowed in the environment. That eliminates fans, but it will result in some exciting broadcast opportunities. Despite the lack of fans, the games should be one of the best events in the shortened year.
The Meaning of Outdoor Games in 2020-21
These games probably don’t anything special in terms of revenue for the parties involved. The broadcasts should be fantastic and draw people in, but a lack of gate revenue will limit the games’ total financial impact. However, this is still a very excellent opportunity for the NHL. It expands the regular outdoor games to a new location. Outdoor games initially focused on the original six franchises, but that has changed as fans tired of the same teams being featured. Including Colorado and Vegas this year shows that the league is starting to recognize some of its more enthusiastic non-central markets. The pandemic will cloud activities for months, but outdoor hockey will be back before we know it.
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