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This analysis examines the commodification of the 2009 National Hockey League (NHL) Winter Classic, a professional outdoor hockey game staged in Chicago, IL, at Wrigley Field. Given the dynamic relationship between sports and corporate sponsorship, ratings, merchandise, and broadcast-rights contracts, it is critical to understand how the principles of late capitalism influence both the sport and fans in increasingly controlling ways. As a result, this study combines an understanding of the principles of production and consumption, examining how economic principles manifested themselves in the commodification of nostalgic elements and made the NHL Winter Classic the sport’s most lucrative event in decades.
Andon is a doctoral student, and Houck, his advisor, in the School of Communication, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.