- Arash Markazi, ESPN Staff Writer
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LOS ANGELES -- About 2,500 miles away from Madison Square Garden, about 2,500 Los Angeles Kings fans gathered outside of Staples Center on Monday to watch L.A. beat the New York Rangers 3-0 and take a commanding 3-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup finals.
The viewing party was held at the Nokia Plaza at L.A. Live, across the street from the Staples Center, where the game was shown on the 22-foot by 40-foot outdoor LED screens, as well as on various flat screens in makeshift beer gardens.
The Kings distributed 2,500 tickets to fans and season ticket holders, who watched the game along with the Kings Ice Crew and the team’s mascot, Bailey, while arena organist Dieter Ruehle and in-arena host Carrlyn Bathe provided the same entertainment they would offer if the game was being played across the street.
Two years ago, the Kings held away-game viewing parties at local bars and considered hosting one inside of Staples Center. But Lee Zeidman, general manager of Staples Center, Nokia Theatre and L.A. Live, explained that NBC, which is broadcasting the Stanley Cup, preferred an outdoor venue similar to what the Rangers had at Bryant Park.
Instead of opening it up to the public, however, the Kings decided to hold a more intimate and confined event that would be easier to police and control.
“We couldn’t open it up to the general public, because we’re confined by how many people we can actually bring down here for something like this,” Zeidman said. “We’re in an urban area. We’re not at park like they had in New York where they can.
“We were limited by what we could do and what we could bring down here. We put a plan together for the fire marshal, and he stamped it and approved a certain number. And that’s what we kept it to.”
On Wednesday, when the Kings try for a series sweep and their second Stanley Cup in three years, Nokia Plaza and Nokia Theatre are booked with the Electronic Entertainment Expo in town. So the team’s ticketed viewing party will take place inside the adjacent Club Nokia, which can hold 2,300 fans.