The NHL announced a multi-year partnership with Supponor on Monday that the league says will transform how we view hockey on television and streaming.
The NHL is introducing Digitally Enhanced Dasherboards (DED) that give broadcasters the ability to put dynamic graphics over arena boards. This will allow in-arena advertisements to be replaced by things like live stats, betting odds, goal celebration graphics, and dynamic ads on local, national, and international NHL game broadcasts.
We could see never-before-seen things on the boards like URLs, social media, and QR codes per the NHL.
“Digitally Enhanced Dasherboards will revolutionize the way properties and broadcasters interact with brands across the world, not only in the NHL, but in all sports,” Keith Wachtel, NHL Chief Business Officer and Senior Executive Vice President, said in a press release. “This has been a significant undertaking for the League, which has included years of developing, testing, and readying the technology for League-wide implementation. We are thrilled to partner with Supponor to bring this game-changing technology to life this season and provide increased opportunity and value to our business partners.”
Greg Wyshynski reported the league spent tens of millions and spent seven years on this project. He added more on what the consumer can expect in a feature for ESPN.
There are five different “zones” sold to sponsors: behind both nets and all three zones. Ads are sold like commercials, with brands buying 30-second increments, based on the game clock. Every game, teams have 120 increments to program. Each broadcaster and the NHL itself get 90 seconds of institutional time for their own advertisements.
Sometimes, the boards will resemble the ones traditionally seen in the arena. Other times, one advertiser will take over the boards in a particular zone or even the entire rink.
Supponor has teamed up with other top-tier sports leagues across football (UEFA, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1) and the NBA.
Here’s the press release from the NHL:
National Hockey League Launches First-Of-Its-Kind Dynamic Signage Initiative Beginning in the 2022-23 Season
League Announces Multiyear Partnership with Supponor as the NHL’s Digitally Enhanced Dasherboard technology provider
NEW YORK (October 3, 2022) – The National Hockey League (NHL®) today announced the debut of Digitally Enhanced Dasherboards (DED), an advanced approach to dynamic dasherboard advertising that will launch for the 2022-23 season. The DED system allows for the digital replacement of camera-visible arena dasherboards within local, national, and international NHL game broadcasts, ushering in the next wave of innovation to create new opportunities for the League, its Clubs and their media and corporate partners.
The NHL has partnered with Supponor, a world leading technology provider focused on raising standards for innovative commercial strategies through digital signage, to develop the DED technology solution which uses remote, Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based keying technology to program dasherboard advertising during game broadcasts by placing dynamic graphics over the camera-visible arena dasherboards. DED graphics can be displayed during games in a market-specific way wherever the game feed is broadcast resulting in dynamic and targeted branding and promotional messaging that was not previously achievable.
“Digitally Enhanced Dasherboards will revolutionize the way properties and broadcasters interact with brands across the world, not only in the NHL, but in all sports,” said Keith Wachtel, NHL Chief Business Officer and Senior Executive Vice President. “This has been a significant undertaking for the League, which has included years of developing, testing and readying the technology for League-wide implementation. We are thrilled to partner with Supponor to bring this game-changing technology to life this season and provide increased opportunity and value to our business partners.”
“Our long-term collaboration with the NHL has achieved a historic league-wide signage solution. With up to 15 concurrent games in one night and 40 game broadcasts per week during the NHL regular season, it is an ambitious large-scale deployment,” said James B Gambrell, Supponor CEO. “Working closely with the NHL to develop, test and implement Digitally Enhanced Dasherboards has been the most complex implementation of Supponor’s AIR® AI, software-based solution. Our system will support the NHL’s requirements and needs and will set a new gold standard for other sports. We thank the NHL for their vision and commitment to innovation and collaboration and look forward to many more groundbreaking initiatives together shaping the future of sport advertising.”
The NHL’s DED solution will allow for never-before-seen dynamic dasherboard branding and messaging featuring URLs, flighted marketing campaigns, co-branded official designations, social media integration, QR codes and more. Additionally, the DED display will be programmable into multiple formats from a single-advertiser full-dasherboard takeover to a split zone format with ten advertisers brands. Among other advantages, the DED system allows for the opportunity for Clubs to provide their corporate partners and advertisers with this valuable exposure in both their home and their away game broadcasts for the first time. Supponor will also manage the League’s Slot Virtual advertising beginning this season and has developed an NHL Content Management System for use by the League and its Clubs to manage their playlists for every game broadcast in their market.
About the NHL
The National Hockey League (NHL®), founded in 1917, consists of 32 Member Clubs. Each team roster reflects the League’s international makeup with players from more than 20 countries represented, all vying for the most cherished and historic trophy in professional sports – the Stanley Cup®. Every year, the NHL entertains more than 670 million fans in-arena and through its partners on national television and radio; more than 191 million followers – league, team and player accounts combined – across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube; and more than 100 million fans online at NHL.com. The League broadcasts games in more than 160 countries and territories through its rightsholders including ESPN, Turner Sports and NHL NetworkMC in the U.S.; Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada; Viaplay in the Nordic Region; and CCTV and Tencent in China; and reaches fans worldwide with games available to stream in every country. Fans are engaged across the League’s digital assets on mobile devices via the free NHL® App; across nine social media platforms; on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio™; and on NHL.com, available in eight languages and featuring unprecedented access to player and team statistics as well as every regular-season and playoff game box score dating back to the League’s inception, powered by SAP. NHL Original Productions and NHL Studios produce compelling original programming featuring unprecedented access to players, coaches and League and team personnel for distribution across the NHL’s social and digital platforms.
The NHL is committed to building healthy and vibrant communities using the sport of hockey to celebrate fans of every race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. The NHL’s Hockey Is For Everyone™ initiative reinforces that the official policy of the sport is one of inclusion on the ice, in locker rooms, boardrooms and stands. The NHL is expanding access and opportunity for people of all backgrounds and abilities to play hockey, fostering more inclusive environments and growing the game through a greater diversity of participants. To date, the NHL has invested more than $100 million in youth hockey and grassroots programs, with a commitment to invest an additional $5 million for diversity and inclusion programs over the next year.
Supponor has been the market leader in the replacement and insertion of multi-feed TV-visible signage in Tier 1 sports for the past decade, already proven in live broadcast environments in over 2,500 top-tier annual sports events worldwide. With its innovative technology Supponor AIR®, Supponor delivers authentic virtual placement or replacement advertising on any surface, in any sport, at any venue, and in any weather condition. Supponor AIR®, launched in 2021, is a fully software-based technology platform that relies on leading-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) approaches. It is the only fully software-based technology with league-wide approval in the German Bundesliga. Supponor AIR® is able to work fully remote, for this reason being the most efficient, flexible and sustainable solution.
Supponor’s virtual advertising solutions have been trusted by rights holders in top-tier sports leagues across football (UEFA, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1), hockey (NHL), basketball (NBA) and a host of other top sports. Supponor is headquartered in London and has its R&D base in Helsinki, with regional offices in Barcelona, Milan, Cologne, New York, Toronto, and Sydney, and is supported by leading VCs and institutional investors. For additional information: http://www.supponor.com.
Headline photo courtesy of NHL
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