• Loading stock data...
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -

NHL Sets Attendance Records With MetLife Stadium Series Games

  • The Rangers-Islanders contest at MetLife Stadium drew the third-largest crowd in league history.
  • There is no evidence of waning enthusiasm for the league’s run of non-arena games.
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Sixteen years into the NHL’s run of outdoor games, the league is still breaking new ground. 

The NHL drew a crowd of 70,328 on Saturday for Devils-Flyers, the first of a two-day run of Stadium Series games at MetLife Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Giants and Jets. The attendance was the largest in 13 Stadium Series games dating to ’14. The record, however, would only stand for about 18 hours as Sunday’s Rangers-Islanders game then drew 79,690, the third-largest crowd in NHL history, as the league reopened a chunk of lower-bowl seats that was blocked off on Saturday for a pregame Jonas Brothers concert. 

Only two prior Winter Classics—the 2014 game at Michigan Stadium and the ’20 event at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas—have featured bigger crowds for the NHL.

The weekend success at the gate now sets the stage for another historic attendance total next year as the league also unveiled plans for the 2025 Stadium Series game, which will feature the Red Wings playing the Blue Jackets at Ohio Stadium. Representing a hockey version of arguably college football’s top rivalry, the matchup is set to become just the second NHL game to top 100,000 in attendance, joining that ’14 Winter Classic at the Big House. Next year’s Stadium Series contest will join the ’25 Winter Classic, which will return to Wrigley Field in Chicago for Blackhawks-Blues.

The NHL started its outdoor play in 2008 with the first Winter Classic in Buffalo, and the event has since mushroomed into that New Year’s Day tradition, plus the supplemental Stadium Series and the Heritage Classic in Canada. Overall, the league has played 41 outdoor games, drawing a total of 2.1 million, and there are no signs of waning enthusiasm for the concept. 

Fans actively tailgated before both Stadium Series games at MetLife Stadium, and three of the four participating teams arrived at the facility in various themes to help herald the occasion: the Devils in Sopranos-style tracksuits and gold chains, the Flyers in Rocky-inspired gray sweatsuits, and the Rangers in New York fire and police department hockey jerseys, along with actual uniformed officers and firefighters.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

The WNBA Boom Goes Beyond Caitlin Clark

Ticket sales and prices are way up from last year.

Long Saga of Botched Timberwolves Sale Heads to Mediation

The battle for the team could be resolved before next season, an expert says.

Phoenix’s NHL Future on Ice: Can Meruelo Reactivate the Coyotes?

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman acknowledges there could be a repeat of local political opposition.

Caitlin Clark and the Fever to Receive Even More TV Coverage

The WNBA team is placing 17 games on over-the-air stations in the Indianapolis area.
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

Randy Johnson, Bird Savior


Featured Today

Everything You Need To Know About the Legal Attempts To Kill the ACC

Four lawsuits involving the conference, Clemson, and FSU could determine the future.
April 20, 2024

A Bare-Knuckle Fighter Won His Pro Debut. The Far Right Scored a Marketing Win

With Proud Boys sponsoring him, experts say extremist groups will use his success to elevate their ideologies and recruit new believers.
April 7, 2024

Women’s Basketball Finally Has a TV Deal to Match the Excitement. Now What?

A lucrative new media-rights contract could rectify problems of the past, but the future of March Madness media rights is anyone’s guess.
Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) cuts the net after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels for the ACC Conference Championship at Capital One Arena.
April 6, 2024

How Two College Seniors Helped DJ Burns Cash In on a Final Four Run

Two college seniors are facilitating deals for NC State’s big man.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Live Nation
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers

NBA Media Rights Likely Headed for Open Market Next Week

The league is reportedly letting Monday’s deadline pass without a deal.
April 17, 2024

NBA Bans Jontay Porter for Life After Gambling Investigation

The NBA found that Porter gave injury information to sports gamblers, among other violations.
April 17, 2024

Women’s Golf Has Five—Not Four—Majors, and That’s a Good Thing

The Chevron Championship tees of Thursday outside of Houston.

Rapid Returns: How Technology Is Getting You Back to Your Seat

How Oracle’s POS technology is helping fans get back to their seats faster.
April 17, 2024

Warriors Missing Playoffs Has Big-Money Consequences

The NBA is losing one of its biggest postseason draws.
April 17, 2024

Even Joe Biden Is Surprised By Caitlin Clark Making $76K

The president posted Tuesday night about pay disparities in sports.
April 16, 2024

Caitlin Clark Drives Massive WNBA Draft Audience for ESPN

Clark’s coronation was the most-watched WNBA telecast in decades.
April 16, 2024

For Caitlin Clark and Other Rookies: Now a 29-Day Sprint to WNBA Debut

The league regular season starts swiftly after college basketball ends.