If the NHL can hold an outdoor game in southern California, why can’t it hold one in Texas?
That’s the question being asked by Dallas Stars president Jim Lites, who told The Dallas Morning News this week that the team has begun preliminary preparations to host an outdoor game within the next few years.
“We are in the very early stages of talks and planning, and we expect to make some headway during the Olympic break, but it’s still a few years away,” Lites said. “Just guessing, I would say 2015-16 at the earliest, and more realistically 2016-17.”
The most desirable venue for a potential game, Lites said, would be AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys and the largest stadium in the NFL (standing room included). Not only can Jerry Jones’ paradise hold upward of 100,000 spectators, but it also has a retractable roof, which would alleviate any weather concerns. The allure of the stadium itself would likely help to draw non-hockey fans.
“I think you can talk about the Cotton Bowl or [Rangers Ballpark in Arlington], but in the end it makes the most sense to look at Cowboys Stadium,” Lites said. “You have the safeguard against rain, plus I think an event of this magnitude needs that building. It can be a huge part of the draw in itself.”
The largest crowd ever recorded at AT&T Stadium was 108,713 for the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. The stadium could theoretically hold close to that number for a hockey game, but Lites said the Stars would aim for roughly 70,000 fans.
“Just make sure they’re filled up on each side,” he said.
AT&T Stadium, which hosted Super Bowl XLV, will return to the national stage when it hosts the 2014 men’s Final Four this spring.
Photo via Facebook/Dallas Cowboys