Competitive Edge - Sports & Entertainment Marketing News

How the NHL’s first Winter Classic overcame many hurdles


Sidney Crosby still remembers walking through the tunnel at Ralph Wilson Stadium over 15 years ago, experiencing what Buffalo Bills players experienced every home game.

He still remembers the snow floating down on the temporary rink constructed on the field, where the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Buffalo Sabres on New Year’s Day.

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Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the NHL Winter Classic?
  2. Why does the NHL host this event every year?
  3. What is event marketing?
  4. Why is event marketing important to the Winter Classic?
  5. What is the difference between event management and event marketing?
  6. What factors are important for the NHL to consider when hosting the Winter Classic from an event management perspective?
  7. According to this story, the league faced a variety of challenges in staging an outdoor hockey event. What is one example of a hurdle they had to overcome in making this event a successful reality?
  8. This news story cites the venue as the biggest obstacle to the first Winter Classic event. What is a venue?
  9. Why was the venue the biggest obstacle?
  10. What was the first NHL outdoor game, according to this story?
  11. How did that event encourage the NHL to pursue more outdoor events?
  12. What broadcast company was involved in that first event? How much influence do you think they had in the development of outdoor NHL events?
  13. Why do you think the NHL chose to stage this year’s event on New Years Day?
  14. What is competition?
  15. What is the difference between direct and indirect competition?
  16. What might represent direct competition for the Winter Classic?
  17. What is sponsorship?
  18. What do you think a “title” sponsorship is?
  19. Who is the title sponsor of the 2024 NHL Winter Classic?
  20. Why do you think that company would want to attach its name to an NHL event?
  21. What is economic impact?
  22. Where is the 2024 Winter Classic being held?
  23. How might the event impact the city from an economic perspective?
Chris Lindauer
After working for nearly a decade in professional sports, Chris Lindauer, formed Sports Career Consulting to provide unique sports business education opportunities in and out of the classroom. In the eighteen years (and counting) that followed, Chris has inspired thousands of students to pursue their passions and explore the career of their dreams. He currently lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, two teenage daughters and their dog.


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