This coming in during the wee hours of Thursday and preventing me from sleeping.
I happened to see this over at Puck Daddy on Yahoo from Greg Wyshynski. HBO is going to be producing a reality series on the NHL leading up to the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day. The two teams participating in the 2011 edition of the Winter Classic will be the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Washington Capitals, two of the league’s glamor teams.
Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette broke the story early this morning, writing that the NHL plans to make an announcement later today.
And while “Hard Knocks” is being mentioned in the Post-Gazette and Puck Daddy stories, I have a feeling this is going to be under the “24/7” series banner. Hard Knocks is co-produced by NFL Films and HBO. And I believe the name is even owned by the NFL and licensed to HBO.
24/7 has won several Emmy Awards over the years and brings a well-known brand name to the NHL. It also gives the league some free marketing for the Winter Classic through HBO.
In addition, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and league Chief Operating Officer John Collins are expected to talk to the media later today and I’m sure this will be focus of the conference call.
We’ll be monitoring and the transcript of the announcement will be posted here at Fang’s Bites.
UPDATE, 9:15 a.m.: John Ourand of Sports Business Journal now confirms the series will be under the “24/7” banner.
UPDATE, 9:30 a.m.: I’m being told that an official announcement on the 24/7 NHL series will be made today. Deb Placey of MSG Network/NHL Network made mention of it this morning.