NHL unveils dynamic digital signage ahead of regular season

NHL unveils dynamic digital signage ahead of regular season originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The National Hockey League is set to debut  “digitally enhanced dasherboards” for all games for the upcoming 2022-23 NHL season.

This new technology, which the league has been working on for over seven years and cost tens of millions of dollars, will allow broadcasts to "erase and replace" advertisements on all boards that will be visible to the camera, and put their own advertisements in its place. 

“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,” the NHL shared in its statement release.

Eventually, DEDs will also be used to display things like in-game stats or special effects for goal celebrations.

"Every game, every night. This is the new norm," said Keith Wachtel, the NHL's chief business officer and executive vice president of global partnerships. "We don't like to call it 'erase and replace,' but that was the original terminology. It's taking something that's existing, keeping that value, but replacing it with something that's much better and isn't static."

There will be five different zones that broadcasts will be able to sell to advertisers: one in each offensive zone, one in the neutral zone, and one behind each net. The ads will be sold like commercials and given 30-second time slots based on the game clock, meaning there will be 120 increments to program overall for each zone. Advertisers can choose what they want to feature during a game. 

"There will be a local Nashville Predators feed, a San Jose Sharks feed, a rest-of-the-world feed and then a clean feed because the local broadcasting partner wants to see their local partner boards," said Allison Eddy, a general manager on the DED project for the NHL.

Road teams will also be able to remove certain ads from a hometeam's board that may clash with their sponsors and replace the ads with something else. 

"What this does is allow clubs to sell as many regional game broadcasts as they’re able to in their market," said Wachtel. “Also, competitors come into everyone else’s market. So, every time the Rangers play in Philadelphia, Chase [Bank] has to see Wells Fargo ads coming back into their very important New York market. You can now avoid that issue, if it’s important to own your own market.”

DEDs have the opportunity to become mainstream and will welcome a never-before-seen dynamic dasherboard experience.