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Copley Square viewing of Winter Classic canceled over broadcast dispute

Workers prepared Gillette Stadium to host the Winter Classic.Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

Mayor Martin J. Walsh's plan to host a televised public viewing of the NHL Winter Classic in Copley Square on New Year's Day has been canceled due to a dispute over broadcast rights.

On Monday, city officials said they had partnered with the NHL to live stream the Bruins-Canadiens game, which will be played at Gillette Stadium on Jan. 1, on a big-screen TV in Copley Square. The free event was to be part of the city's First Night/First Day festivities.

But on Tuesday, TD Garden officials notified City Hall that NBC will not grant Boston the broadcast license needed to make the event possible, according to Walsh spokeswoman Laura Oggeri. Before receiving that news, city officials had been "under the impression that all the logistics had been finalized," she said.


In a one-sentence joint statement in response to inquiries from the Globe, the NHL and NBC said that "public viewing gatherings for nationally televised regular-season games are not permissible under NHL media-rights policies."

A New Year's Day tradition for many hockey fans, the game is an annual event held by the NHL in which teams play outdoors. This year's game, officially called the 2016 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, will start at 1 p.m. , and the Bruins will be the first team in the league to host it for a second time.

Despite the cancelation, Oggeri said, city officials "are still very hopeful we can find a resolution."

"Boston is always looking for new ways to bring people together to root for our favorite teams," she added, "and we continue to hope for the opportunity to do so on New Year's Day."

TD Garden officials declined to comment.

Sacha Pfeiffer can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SachaPfeiffer.