ESPN, Disney to Present First “Live Animated” NHL Game
ESPN+, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney+ to present first-of-its-kind live volumetric animation presentation
After pioneering many firsts in sports production, ESPN is teaming up with the Disney Channel and the National Hockey League Team to present a first-of-its-kind live volumetric animation presentation of an actual live NHL hockey game.
On March 14 at 7 p.m. EDT, ESPN+, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney+ will air the “NHL Big City Greens Classic,” a live, animated NHL game telecast, featuring the Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers.
The alternate presentation of the Capitals-Rangers game will feature live, real-time volumetric animation of players and teams modeled after characters on Disney Branded Television’s Emmy Award-winning animated comedy “Big City Greens.”
ESPN+, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney+ will present the live, animated telecast, while the main telecast will be available on ESPN and ESPN+.
“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. “‘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 first-of-its-kind alternate presentation will leverage NHL Edge positioning data (puck and player tracking) to recreate the action on the ice as it is happening while featuring “Big City Greens” characters skating alongside animated versions of the NHL players. The real-time animation will be produced in association with ESPN Edge Innovation Center and NHL EDGE Innovation partners Verizon, Beyond Sports and Silver Spoon.
ESPN commentators will call the action for the “NHL Big City Greens Classic,” and “Big City Greens” talent, including the Houghton brothers and Marieve Herington (the voice of Tilly), will also be featured in the presentation.
“We’ve said from day one that our partnership with The Walt Disney Company is a big win for our fans and our League,” said Dave Lehanski, NHL’s executive vice president of Business Development and Innovation. “We’ve spent years investing in a fast and accurate puck and player tracking system to help us grow the game. The ‘NHL Big City Greens Classic’ will demonstrate how we can leverage data from NHL EDGE — our puck and player tracking system — to create entirely new fan experiences for a younger audience in collaboration with incredible partners like The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and Beyond Sports. What a testament — to have the greatest animation company of all time leverage its incomparable creativity and IP to promote and grow our game.”
ESPN said more details regarding the first-of-its-kind production will be announced closer to the game.
The latest product and technology information
Future US's leading brands bring the most important, up-to-date information right to your inbox
George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.