NHL and Big City Greens Team Up for First-Ever Animated Hockey Game!

ESPN, Disney Channel, and the National Hockey League (NHL) are teaming up to bring fans the "NHL Big City Greens Classic," the first-ever live, animated NHL game telecast, featuring the Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers, on March 14.

💻 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+.

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. 

🎙 Ilan Ben-Hanan, senior vice president of Programming and Acquisitions, ESPN stated: “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. 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.”

🗣 Dave Lehanski, NHL’s executive vice president of Business Development and Innovation, said: “We’ve said from day one that our partnership with The Walt Disney Company is a big win for our fans and our League. 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 to create entirely new fan experiences for a younger audience in collaboration with incredible partners like The Walt Disney Company, ESPN and Beyond Sports.”

⭐ Sports organizations and media companies are always trying to find innovative ways to bring more viewers to their content and engage younger audiences. Two successful examples are the NFL, CBS Sports and Nickelodeon partnership, and Sky Deutschland alongside Bundesliga with their Sky Next Generation during the last Der Klassiker. Now, the NHL expects to get a similar outcome with this NHL Big City Greens Classic.

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