The 2015 Winter Classic will have big names and a big viewing audience. What we still don’t know yet is where in Washington D.C. the NHL will hold the game. The 2015 Winter Classic will have the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks skating for outdoor glory.
There are two choices in and around the D.C area to hold the game. Nationals Park, home of the Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals, is what I believe to be the desired location by the NHL. We have seen MLB stadiums used before and it went well. It’s believed that negotiations are ongoing. But as reported by the Washington Post “Under the Nationals’ lease
with the city, the team would have final say in allowing the use of the publicly financed, city-owned ballpark.” Nationals Park has a baseball capacity of 41,888 fans, it hasn’t been reported if the NHL will be able to add any seats, but it’s unlikely.
The second option would be RFK Stadium. That stadium is currently home to D.C. United of Major League Soccer. RFK has the ability to hold more fans (45,596), but it is a much older venue. I’m guessing this is the fall back option for the NHL. This could be an easier place to hold the event. The soccer field would most likely require less work to turn in to a winter wonderland. I don’t expect the NHL to need to use RFK, but at least it’s a sold number two.
I wouldn’t worry much about this problem, but it doesn’t look good when your cash cow has no home to make you the money. Maybe politics are getting in the way in Washington that would be all that surprising. What is a bit unsettling is that this game was announced back in September of 2013, and it still has no home. I’ve gone on record several times saying that there are too many outdoor games in the NHL, but this is the Grand Daddy of them all. The 2015 Winter Classic should have a location pinned down before any out outdoor game.