Back in early June, Kevin Kurz reported that, after the Kings and Ducks killed it in their stadium series game, the Sharks were expected host one in 2015-16, at either AT&T Park in San Francisco, home of the Giants, or Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, where the 49ers will begin playing next season.
But it would appear the details are more concrete than that. On Saturday, for all of three hours, you could purchase tickets at Ticketmaster to the 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series, a Saturday, February 21 game between the Los Angeles Kings and the San Jose Sharks at Levi's Stadium.
The link, which is here, was dead by noon. Readers Brandon C. and Jennifer S. helpfully passed along the above screengrab, however.
But it happened, and provided Ticketmaster knows a little more about future events than we do, this game is happening, and at Levi's Stadium.
As Kurz noted back in June, AT&T Park would be a beautiful venue for a hockey game. From CSN Bay Area:
"[It's] probably be the better option for both the league and the Sharks. Known as one of the most picturesque stadiums in the country, sitting on the edge of the San Francisco Bay and what’s known as McCovey Cove, it would provide breathtaking visuals for a national broadcast much like NHL games at Wrigley Field and Fenway Park in the past. It could help the Sharks to grow the game locally in the San Francisco area, and be easier to fill to capacity, as AT&T Park holds 41,503 fans as compared to the 68,500 seats at Levi’s Stadium."
But the reason the league looks like it's going with Levi's Stadium, which held its first-ever event just Saturday night (a Major League Soccer game between the San Jose Earthquakes and the Seattle Sounders), is right there in the final line: 26,997 more seats. Multiply that by whatever they're charging for admission, and you have a whole lot of sweet, sweet coin.
And we know that's what these games are about. They're a big draw.
Similarly, the NHL and its broadcasters are all-in on the rivalry between the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings. All five of the team's meetings will be on national television; the first is practically the NHL's marquee opening night match-up. Plus an outdoor game.
It makes sense. After last year's compelling, historic and, for the Sharks, heartbreaking first-round matchup, which many predicted would determine the Stanley Cup champion, it became especially clear that this is a battle worth everyone's time, and not just because of the geography.
Clearly, nothing is official, since Ticketmaster isn't exactly Bob McKenzie -- this looks to be a gaffe, not the emergence of a new hockey insider. But I'd hazard a guess that there's an announcement coming with these exact details sometime in the future.
Hopefully the area around the new arena will have its traffic and transit problems worked out by February.