Hershey Bears fans are not the only AHL fans scratching their heads, wondering why the first outdoor minor league hockey game would be hosted in Syracuse, N.Y. The rival Manitoba Moose (you know — the ones who lost to the Bears in the Calder Cup Finals?) were approached, too. But according to their general manager, the math didn't add up.
The Crunch is paying as much as $550,000, which includes about $400,000 for installation of the temporary rink. Sponsorship helps out with about $350,000, including $100,000 from Time Warner. Gov. David Paterson helped secure a $75,000 grant from the Empire State Development Corp., and also cleared the way for the Crunch to use the Fairgrounds without paying a user fee. — Syracuse.com
Still not a bad chunk of change from sponsors, but a grant from the state and not having to pay to use the fairgrounds does not hurt either.
According to the Syracuse story, Hershey and Toronto were in the running — it was just a matter for the clubs to find a way to make it work logistically and financially, and the concessions Syracuse were able to get in addition to sponsorships, pushed them over the top. The two were a natural fit because having a football or soccer stadium beside their arenas.
You got to imagine Hershey would love this seeing they have 10 championships (one championship being a requirement for Ted Leonsis to commit the Capitals to the big-league version). But hey, you have to figure out how to make money off of it first.
It's refreshing that this is not a story about how a team was stiffed for an event due to ratings and markets. So while I patiently wait for Hershey's turn (and a good deal on Winter Classic tickets in Boston), I already purchased two tickets to the inaugural Outdoor Classic to see why Syracuse and the Land of "Slapshot" has to offer. I couldn't pass up $40 tickets and a weekend 5-hour drive up I-81 or the advertised hot tubs at the game.
I'm just hoping for some Old Time Hockey.