The Winter Classic has been firmly established as an NHL staple, and we've long wondered how much longer the golden goose would continue to produce similar hued eggs. Well -- as far as the 2014 Winter Classic is concerned -- the luster hasn't worn off yet.
Sports Business Daily is reporting that this year's event at Michigan Stadium generated $20 million in profit, via Sports Business Daily:
According to an NHL source, the Jan. 1 game at Michigan Stadium posted more than $30 million in revenue against costs of $10 million. Approximately two-thirds of the revenue was derived from ticket sales, with 105,491 fans paying an average ticket price of $186 for an estimated take of $19.6 million. An additional $10 million in revenue came from retail and advertising sales.
These numbers are astronomical in comparison to the previous edition of the Winter Classic that took place in Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park where $15 million was generated against $10 million in operating costs. The $20 million mark is amplified even more by the average $2 and $3 million generated every home game by the NHL's top earning teams.
This earning potential is important because the Winter Classic is a league-wide event, which means the home team is compensated for an average home game, with the NHL taking the rest of the money. This is a factor when calculating hockey-related revenue -- and in turn, the salary cap -- which this year's Winter Classic will undoubtedly help boost:
The Winter Classic raking in $20-million could boost next year's cap something like $400,000 all on its own. So that's a big, big number.— James Mirtle (@mirtle) January 13, 2014
The salary cap for the 2014-15 season is projected to hit $71 million in 2014-15.
In a nutshell: a lot of money was made in Michigan this year. Questions will persist given the scale of this year's event and following it up in Washington next year will certainly be no easy task. But it's difficult to deny that the Winter Classic remains an anticipated portion of the NHL schedule, one which will remain in the fold for years to come.