NHL Makes In Arena Rinkboards Digital, But Only Virtually

October 4, 2022 by Dave Haynes

I don’t know if this qualifies as digital signage or digital out of home, but whatever the case, a move by the National Hockey League to virtually digitize the boards that surround playing surfaces is quite interesting.

The NHL is debuting what it calls Digitally Enhanced Dasherboards (DEDs) that allow dynamic, targeted advertising for its 2022-23 season, which starts … soon. I’m Canadian, but really don’t follow hockey (please don’t revoke my passport!)

That means the boards visible to fans watching their fave teams on TV will see ads tailored to their market and to team sponsor needs – with software overlaying ads on the boards.

Says the PR:

The DED system allows for the digital replacement of camera-visible arena dasherboards within local, national, and international NHL game broadcasts, ushering in the next wave of innovation to create new opportunities for the League, its Clubs and their media and corporate partners.

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. DED graphics can be displayed during games in a market-specific way wherever the game feed is broadcast resulting in dynamic and targeted branding and promotional messaging that was not previously achievable.

“Digitally Enhanced Dasherboards will revolutionize the way properties and broadcasters interact with brands across the world, not only in the NHL, but in all sports,” said Keith Wachtel, NHL Chief Business Officer and Senior Executive Vice President. “This has been a significant undertaking for the League, which has included years of developing, testing and readying the technology for League-wide implementation. We are thrilled to partner with Supponor to bring this game-changing technology to life this season and provide increased opportunity and value to our business partners.”

“Our long-term collaboration with the NHL has achieved a historic league-wide signage solution. With up to 15 concurrent games in one night and 40 game broadcasts per week during the NHL regular season, it is an ambitious large-scale deployment,” said James B Gambrell, Supponor CEO. “Working closely with the NHL to develop, test and implement Digitally Enhanced Dasherboards has been the most complex implementation of Supponor’s AIR AI, software-based solution. Our system will support the NHL’s requirements and needs and will set a new gold standard for other sports. We thank the NHL for their vision and commitment to innovation and collaboration and look forward to many more groundbreaking initiatives together shaping the future of sport advertising.”

The NHL’s DED solution will allow for never-before-seen dynamic dasherboard branding and messaging featuring URLs, flighted marketing campaigns, co-branded official designations, social media integration, QR codes and more. Additionally, the DED display will be programmable into multiple formats from a single-advertiser full-dasherboard takeover to a split zone format with ten advertisers brands. Among other advantages, the DED system allows for the opportunity for Clubs to provide their corporate partners and advertisers with this valuable exposure in both their home and their away game broadcasts for the first time. Supponor will also manage the League’s Slot Virtual advertising beginning this season and has developed an NHL Content Management System for use by the League and its Clubs to manage their playlists for every game broadcast in their market.


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