NHL launching a digital power play

By Jim O'Neill on Oct 13 2016 at 1:15 PM
NHL launching a digital power play

NHL fans were quick to dismiss FoxTrax (aka “the Glow Puck”) when it was introduced during Fox telecasts of games from 1996 to 1998. It may be time to bring it back if the NHL’s new streaming play – which targets younger viewers who are eschewing traditional television and consuming an even-increasing amount of content on smartphones – gains traction among its target audience, smartphone wielding Millennial males.

The new SVOD product, NHL.TV, gives subscribers access to watch out-of-market games live and on demand in HD. It’s available on iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3 and PS Vita.

Fans will have three NHL.TV subscriptions options for the 2016-17 season: $139.96 for an annual pass; $111.96 for a single-team and $24.99 monthly.

The NHL also will feature original team content and customization.

For fans attending games, and other live events, 12 participating teams' home arenas will have customized mobile apps of their venue that allows users to search events with a complete calendar, buy and manage their tickets, enter with mobile tickets, get in-app notifications and promotions and order in-seat food delivery.

The league also plans to stream a live game every week on Twitter.

The streaming play is a good one, one that could help the NHL reach an audience that so far has been less than enthusiastic about the sport.

Streaming to a smartphone, however, might be a less engaging proposition that streaming to a larger screen. Unless…

FoxTrak, for those of you fortunate enough to have missed it, was a digital enhancement during NHL games broadcast on Fox that used an electromagnetic emitting hockey puck to generate a red streak on a TV, ostensibly helping viewers follow the puck.

It was a bomb because serious hockey fans complained the Glow Puck made it feel more like you were watching a video game. And, honestly, back in the late-20th Century hockey fights generally were more fun to watch anyway.

Times have changed.

Stay tuned.

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