DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The football field at the Cotton Bowl is getting a frozen makeover for a major event for hockey lovers on New Year’s Day.

The Dallas Stars take on the Nashville Predators at 1 p.m. in the NHL Winter Classic.

Fans of the sport will be able to take in much more on the fairgrounds than the game on the ice.

While pro hockey in the outdoors in North Texas seems out of place, the NHL thinks otherwise.

“Youth hockey thrives here and we recognize that. This is a place that deserves a Winter Classic,” said Steve Mayer, chief content officer for the NHL.

In its 12th year, the Winter Classic is an annual Jan. 1 regular season match up among NHL teams.

It also attracts people beyond the die-hard hockey fan base.

Mayer says a visit to the Red River Showdown in 2018 helped cement the decision to hold the event here.

“To see this area and the State Fair and the Cotton Bowl activated with all those people… I came back to the commissioner and said, ‘Let’s go to Dallas,'” Mayer said.

The game is expected to sell out at 84,000 tickets. Ticket holders will also gain free entry to fun on the fairgrounds. A pregame fan fest will open at 9 a.m. and continue after the game is over. The fair’s Midway and signature rides will be open.

The Stanley Cup will also be onsite for photos.

Fans with online tickets are encouraged to download the tickets before arriving at the game on Wednesday to speed up the entry process.