A recent conversation with Chief Operating Officer, AEG Sports, Kelly Cheeseman, revealed additional details of the many moving parts currently being orchestrated to make the Kings-Ducks Stadium Series event at Dodger Stadium a success that would “make an impact on Southern California and west coast hockey to grow the game,” according to Cheeeman. Though a balance between imagination and logistics currently keeps many of those details a work in progress, there has been an immediate, positive response in regards to ticket sales to Los Angeles and Anaheim season ticket holders. Barring an unlikely interruption due to weather, the game will take place at 6:30 pm on Saturday, January 25.
Kelly Cheeseman, on where the event is at in terms of planning and logistics:
It’s finally all coming together now in [terms] of schematics of the stadium and the initial layout that they’re looking at. They’ve got some very intriguing and innovative ideas that are going to make the game different from any other of the outdoor games that we’ve seen to date. I think it’s really going to represent Los Angeles and Southern California well, and we’re really excited about it.
On whether he could give a hint towards any of the “intriguing and innovative ideas”:
That’s a tricky one. I don’t want to overstep my bounds on that one. I’d defer to the league on that. I think the best way I can refer to it there is it’s definitely going to represent Southern California. It’s not going to be what you would traditionally see in the other markets. Put your imagination to work from there, and that’s the hope. We’re still in the very early stages. There’s still a lot of research and logistics versus imagination that goes into it. So those two things kind of match up.
On the response from season ticket holders:
We’ve started re-sales in conjunction with the Ducks’ season ticket holders [last week], and the league has so far shared with us that we’re selling at a record clip, faster than any of the previous Winter Classics or games, in conjunction with the presales for the season ticket members. So that is a very promising sign. They’re anticipating a completely different buzz around this game, compared to any of the other games, and that translates not just into the ticket sales, but also into our broadcast partners as well. ‘It just has a different feel’ is what they keep telling us. That’s very intriguing to me. That’s why Luc, Dan, myself, we all went after this game because we wanted to do something different. We wanted to do something that was going to make an impact on Southern California and west coast hockey to grow the game.
On whether there will be unified seating areas for Kings fans and Ducks fans:
The NHL does a pretty good job of dividing up the inventory so that kind of translates throughout the stadium. It’s more divided up by equal number of tickets within sightlines and ticket prices so that…[for] some of the best sightlines the Ducks and the Kings season ticket members both get an equal stab at that inventory. They do an amazing job of breaking down the stadium and dividing up the inventory so it’s a fair allotment for both teams. This and the games in New York are the games they have to be the most careful with because you have…both teams in the markets versus Philadelphia [versus] New York. The away team’s going to have to travel a little bit.
On whether the first event on the ice will be the Stadium Series game:
The teams will practice on Friday night, and they’ll do their family skate, which is traditional to the Winter Classic and the stadium games. At some point earlier in the week we may have some media opportunities as well that are currently getting outlined, but there will be no major public event until the actual game on Saturday evening.
On whether there will be additional events on the ice before the game:
All of our focus right now with the league is all on Saturday. So all of that same type of activity and thought is being put into Saturday. We’re very preliminary on that piece of it, but we’re looking to make this a major event in Los Angeles. We want it to be a big, national story, and a local story, so that’ll be the real result here.
On opportunities to use the ice in the days after the Kings-Ducks game:
I don’t think you’ll see any other major ticketed event because, again, the logistics of…the ice surface needs to go, I think, from Los Angeles to Vancouver, so it’d have to be out by Wednesday. So we are looking at additional ancillary types of events to potentially allow people to come into Dodger Stadium and participate with the ice condition, but again, that’s all pretty preliminary. The first stage is kind of getting through the timing and the schedule, and the next piece is now looking at things and opportunities for people to interact within a pretty unique environment. Our goal would be to line that stuff up and make certain announcements over the next couple months.