Report: NHL To Replace Standard Arena Board Signage With Digitally Enhanced Dasher Boards For 2022-23 Season

Photo: Nick Wass/AP

According to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski, the NHL will be unveiling new digitally enhanced dasher boards this 2022-23 season. These virtual advertisements will replace the standard signage on arena boards.

The digitally enhanced dasher boards, or DED, will continue the overlaying of ads but will give local, national, and international NHL game broadcasts the ability to produce live in-game stats and even goal celebrations.

Through the main center ice camera, you’ll be able to see all the digital dasher board ads. In-arena advertisers and sponsors will also be seen through reverse angles and closeup shots. Below is an example of how it would look:

Keith Wachtel, the NHL’s chief business officer and executive vice president of global partnerships, called the enhancement “taking something that’s existing, keeping that value, but replacing it with something that’s much better and isn’t static.”

If you’ve been to Capital One Arena, you would see on the dasher boards the national sponsors and local advertising such as NBC Sports Washington, Caesers Sportsbook, Verizon, etc. The DED will allow the broadcasts to show sponsors and ads at home or on the road.

Wachtel explained how this technology aids in a team’s own regional market and with a competition factor, saying, “Competitors come into everyone else’s market, so every time the [New York 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.”

This didn’t take an offseason or two to strategize and plan out. The enhancement took the NHL seven years and tens of millions of dollars. The league wanted to ensure the DED was “in the right place” and could sustain a full 82-game season for every team.

So, what can we expect to see from this DED system during the broadcast? Advertisements will constantly change in the five various zones sold to sponsors: behind both nets and all three zones. Think of it as a 30-second commercial; brands are purchasing those half-a-minute spots based on the game clock. All teams have 120 increments to program every game as broadcasters and the league receives 90 seconds of program time for their own advertisements.

It’s worth noting that the dasher boards will essentially mimic the traditional ones; however, an advertiser will have the ability to “take over the boards” in a certain zone or even the whole rink. Boards will be programmed automatically from a central location through Supponor, a virtual ad company the NHL has partnered with to establish “remote, artificial intelligence-based keying technology.”

Starting October 7th, the DED will appear during the NHL’s Global Series games. The digitally enhanced boards will become a major asset on the international scale. More than 100 countries air NHL games and the goal is to broaden broadcast feeds worldwide; therefore, one could tune in and see different advertisements from that particular country.

Wachtel noted it will take some time for fans to get used to. He explained the NHL worked with two analytics companies and how research showed that fans will have a better viewing experience with only one brand around the boards than “twenty-six different things that your eye can catch.” Research firm MediaScience, which does neurometric eye-scanning, approved this claim.

He also added, “Like anything else, you’re going to have your people that don’t like it, that think it is difficult to watch, but over time, like everything else, people will get used to it, and we’re not concerned at all whatsoever…This is easily the most complicated, difficult but rewarding project I’ve ever worked on. It’s the only platform of its kind in sports, based on how it’s being deployed with the scale of every game, every night. When you’re in the arena, you won’t see any change. When you’re watching at home, you won’t know the difference.”

By Della Young

About Della Young

Della Young is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter who earned a BFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2021. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Screenwriting from Regent University. Della comes from a family of big Capitals fans and became inspired to start writing for hockey in 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and working on both sides of the camera. Follow Della on Twitter: @dellayoung
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8 Responses to Report: NHL To Replace Standard Arena Board Signage With Digitally Enhanced Dasher Boards For 2022-23 Season

  1. novafyre says:

    A betting newsletter’s headline: NHL’s new digitally enhanced dasherboards are the perfect marketing tool for sportsboooks.

    They go on to say: Eventually, the DED system will allow for broadcasts to display stats and special goal celebration effects.

    I can hardly wait to see stats scrolling across the screen.

  2. Anonymous says:

    IT FUCKING SUCKS AND HARD TO WATCH THE GAME…. NEEDS TO GO!!!!!

  3. Anonymous says:

    STOP IT NOW.

    • novafyre says:

      I can take having digital boards. But they are changing too frequently. Why do they need to change so often? And I HATE yes HATE when they are animated, swooping up or across. Kill the animation. Just do a quick switch.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I can understand the reasoning for the ads. They need to stop changing in the middle of play. There are enough stoppage of play to change them in between plays. During actual play is extremely distracting while watching the game. There is no reason to change it during play. I hope this is taken into consideration and changed. I have to agree with the other people and I know I am not alone as everyone I have talked to hates it.

  5. John Haggis says:

    This is so annoying, makes the game so hard to watch. The lines and marks on the boards are gone, they don’t look real and we lose the effect of checks in the boards and the puck making contact. This is such a bad idea, and I thought ads on the hockey sweaters was bad, this takes the cake. Please can this idea along with the tracer puck.

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