PITTSBURGH (93-7 THE FAN)- President of Programming for NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network Jon Miller co-created The Winter Classic. Since then, the NHL outdoor games have exploded into a five game Stadium Series.
Miller joined John Phillips for a two-part interview to talk about how they came up with the idea and what we can expect for the future of outdoor games in the NHL.
Miller explains that the idea originated in 2004 and NBC Sports proposed the game to be played between the Rangers and Bruins at Yankee Stadium.
However, when NBC Sports asked the Yankees, Miller said, “They laughed at us and said you’re never going to play hockey outside here. That’s ridiculous.”
Following an NHL lockout and a host of other setbacks, they finally got the Sabres to be on board to play from which they decided to get “the hottest and most exciting team to go and play them.”
Of course, that team was the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins went on to win the game 2-1 in a shootout at Ralph Wilson Stadium on Jan. 1, 2008.
Since then, the Winter Classic has been growing in popularity and produced the highest ratings in its history this year when the Maple Leafs played the Red Wings at The University of Michigan.
“It’s alive, it’s strong, it’s thriving and that strength has led us to developing the Stadium Series,” Miller said.
In part two of the interview, Miller explains the evolution of NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. The networks show a vast array of sports including the Premier League, Formula One Racing, NASCAR, etc.
“Sports fans want to know about the sports that they love, and they know they can count of NBC Sports to deliver quality programming,” Miller said.
You can listen to both parts of the interview by clicking the links below: