The 2024 NHL Winter Classic is heading to Seattle.

On Monday, the league announced that the Seattle Kraken would host the Vegas Golden Knights in the annual New Year’s Day outdoor game at T-Mobile Park, home of the Seattle Mariners. The game will air on TNT.

However, the game won’t be the sole focus of sports fans on New Year’s Day. For the first time since 2018, the Winter Classic will air on the same day as the College Football Playoff semifinals. And because the game is being played on the west coast, it’ll probably be going head to head with one of those games (the Rose and Sugar Bowl are the semifinal hosts next season). There’s also a third New Year’s Six game on New Year’s Day 2024, the Cotton Bowl.

The 2018 game, which took place on the same day as the Peach Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Sugar Bowl, drew what was then record-low viewership. The Winter Classic games in both 2020 and 2022 dropped even lower, however.

After the expansion of the College Football Playoff, beginning with the 2024-25 season, the semifinals and National Championship will take place later in January. Will potential quarterfinal games on New Year’s Day throw a hurdle in the NHL’s path, similar to the one thrown by semifinals and New Year’s Six games? That remains to be seen.

Bowl games have always been a competitor for the Winter Classic since the first edition back in 2008. But the games taking place earlier in the day, like the Outback or Gator Bowls, are a whole different beast than those taking place later in the day, whether they’re BCS, New Year’s Six, or Semifinal games. Bringing the Winter Classic to the west coast (there have been outdoor games, but not a Winter Classic, in the Mountain and Pacific Time Zones) pushes that start time back and right into more daunting head to head competition with bowl games.


About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.