The NHL has brought animated broadcasting to their game with their “NHL Big City Greens Classic” alternate broadcast of the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals matchup on Tuesday night.
It’s a fully-animated broadcast that’s using live, real-time animations of the players on the ice modeled after Disney’s children series, “Big City Greens.”
The broadcast has gotten some surprised reactions on social media, as many can’t believe what they’re seeing.
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“This might be the most hilariously insane thing I’ve ever seen in televised sports,” one Twitter user wrote. “…For random weirdness, you can’t beat it.”
“More people need to be watching the Disney Big City Greens version of the Rangers and Capitals. It’s incredible and they need to make WAY more of these to bring in younger fans,” another user said.
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That’s exactly the league’s goal with their partnership with ESPN and Disney to bring this alternative broadcast.
“Working with Disney Channel and the NHL, we are producing a telecast that will reach a new and different audience and help to grow hockey fandom even more,” said Ilan Ben-Hanan, senior vice president of Programming and Acquisitions, ESPN in an official statement on the broadcast. “‘Big City Greens’ has a huge following in a younger audience that we are excited to tap into, offering a fun and creative way to enjoy the game across Disney platforms.”
The broadcast is using NHL Edge positioning data, which is their puck and player tracking, to recreate the real action from Madison Square Garden on the ice using characters from “Big City Greens.” ESPN commentators and voices of the characters in the show are also being used throughout the broadcast.
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Every professional league in sports continues to look into different ways to grow their respective games, and the NHL is certainly thinking outside the box with this one.
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It’s a first-of-its-kind broadcast that is clearly sparking interest among hockey fans.