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BaAM delivers BIG for the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic

January 14, 2014

"A game like no other" is perhaps the best way to describe the 2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, which matched up Original Six rivals the Detroit Red Wings vs. the Toronto Maples Leafs.

BaAM has worked with the NHL on each of its outdoor games since 2008 – but the 2014 edition at University of Michigan’s “Big House” was more than just a whole new playing field, it was an NHL record-setting fan experience. When the snow settled and the winds calmed following the game on New Year’s Day, it became obvious that this event was one for the record books.  "We knew an NHL Winter Classic at the Big House with the Red Wings-Maple Leafs rivalry would be special, but what unfolded was extraordinary," said NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins. The NHL has announced that 105,491 tickets were sold. Although the jury is still out as to whether this is an official Guinness world record, it will undoubtedly beat the previous Winter Classic attendance record of 71,217 set in Buffalo in 2008, not to mention a North American broadcast audience that broke previous Winter Classic records with 8.2 million tuning in on January 1, 2014.

It was an unforgettable event for all involved; from staff, players and coaches, to broadcasters and fans. Despite the blowing snow and frigid temperatures averaging 0o F with the wind chill,  everyone could say they braved the elements for the good of the game.  

Installing an NHL rink in an unconventional venue can be a difficult endeavour and each outdoor game install brings new weather conditions, time constraints, and logistics to manage.  At BaAM, we see it as an exciting challenge. Our Project Management team works closely with NHL staff months ahead of time, coordinating budgets, schedules, logistics, and planning site layouts and built components to make the Winter Classic an epic experience for all involved. This was especially true for the Big House match-up at the start of 2014, and as Maple Leafs game winner, Tyler Bozak, put it, “We’re going to remember this one forever.”

Sports Event Production - NHL Winter Classic

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