Technological advancement in the NHL

Have you noticed Quebec advertisements on United States arena tapes during National Hockey League (NHL) games? Indeed, it is now possible to see, for example, an announcement from Desjardins, in the depths of Nevada during a match between the Canadians and the Golden Knights.

It is that since October 12, the NHL has deployed a new technology allowing the 32 clubs of the league to carry out the posting in a virtual way, as much for the matches at home as for those abroad.

Entitled Digitally Enhanced Dasherboards (DED), this technological advance resulting from artificial intelligence allows to adapt the display on the bands to the taste of the broadcasterand this, several times during a game.

Photo: Courtesy / Club de hockey Canadien

“We now have 3 or 5 announcers at the same time instead of 24, but they will rotate every 30 seconds. There is also the option of dominating and having a single announcer with animation. The possibilities are really multiple, “said the senior vice-president of sales of the Montreal Canadiens, Hubert Richard, in an interview with Subway.

“For RDS, for example, we have just won 30 additional matches that we can offer to our advertisers, that’s not nothing,” he continues.

The digital tapes appear via the main camera which shows almost 80% of the match. The other spot cameras reveal the traditional static bands.

“Some advertisers at the Bell Center only take one period, so we simply aligned with digital by offering them three minutes of display. Each period offers about three minutes of quality for a static tape, so we took the same figure for digital,” explains Mr. Richard.

The primary goal is to maximize the impact for advertisers, while making the experience smoother for fans.

New technology, adaptation required

Since the beginning of the season, however, some hockey fans have criticized the arrival of digital tapes because of certain technical problems. In particular, we saw players from the Vancouver Canucks disappear from the screen in favor of advertisements, during an October 12 game against the Edmonton Oilers.

“On our side, we haven’t had any major issues,” said Hubert Richard, who has worked for the Canadian hockey club for nearly 20 years.

However, he admits that the implementation of such a technology requires a period of adaptation.

“It’s the NHL suppliers who take care of this technology. So both for the league and for us, and for our advertisers, it’s a transition. Everyone understands that this is a new technology, that there are adjustments to be made. The important thing is to be transparent in this process”, concludes Mr. Richard.

Thanks to the DED, the displays are 10 times clearer on the screen and the logos gain 30% in height compared to the static bands.

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Technological advancement in the NHL

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