Winter Classic cancellation could cost Detroit/Ann Arbor $75-80 million, according to report

Last season's Winter Classic was played at Citizen's Bank Park in Philadelphia. - Patrick McDermott

Decision on the NHL's New Year's Day event is quickly approaching deadline, and cancellation could cost the host city in a big way.

With the NHL lockout enduring, potential cancellation of the annual Winter Classic becomes more of a reality. According to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, such a cancellation could cost the host cities of Ann Arbor and Detroit, Mich. up to $75-80 million.

The New Year's Day event is slated to take place in Michigan Stadium, home of the University of Michigan football team, and feature a game between the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Today, the NHL cancelled games through the end of November. But even with December play still a possibility, the deadline for a decision to cancel the NHL Winter Classic may need to be made as soon as next week. According to Russo, next week begins the timeline for non-refundable money to be paid to make the event happen, including the $3 million needed to rent Michigan Stadium.

The reality of a dwindling season, including the league's biggest event aside from the playoffs, is approaching:

I've heard from several players that the real deadline, the real league pressure point is when the Winter Classic is in play. Well, it's at that point, folks. It's not going to be canceled in early December, in mid December. It's going to be canceled early next week.

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