Digital Disasters: NHL’s Enhanced Dasher Boards Debut With Glitches During First Two Months (Poll)

Photo: Sportsnet

We’re nearly two months into the 2022-23 NHL season and the roll-out of the league’s digitally enhanced dasher boards in which virtual advertisements replaced the standard signage on arena boards. As with all technology, there were some glitches along the way.

Before we look at the glitches, here’s a quick bullet point summary of the digitally enhanced dasher boards, or DEDs:

  • See all the digital dasher board ads through the main center ice camera
  • Allows the broadcasts to show sponsors and ads at home or on the road (competition factor)
  • Advertisements will constantly change in the five various zones sold to sponsors: behind both nets and all three zones.
  • Advertisers have the ability to “take over the boards” in a certain zone or even the whole rink
  • Took the NHL seven years and tens of millions of dollars

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.”

It debuted during the NHL’s Global Series games:

For the most part, the DEDs have operated decently; however, technology is technology, and it has come with its fair share of glitches and bizarre moments.

The most notable digital disaster during a game was back in October between the Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers. The boards glitched between ads, causing players or half their bodies to “disappear” amidst the digital transition.

Calgary Flames goaltender Jacob Markstrom was a victim of the digital ads as his upper body disappeared and reappeared.

Lookin’ like hockey ghosts…

Keep in mind that players and everyone physically at the arena are not seeing the digital ads, but those watching at home are. Here are some notable digital…distractions?

Compilations have already surfaced with how distracting the digital ads have become. It’s the auto ads for me…

And then sometimes there’s nothing. At all.

Wachtel noted it would take some time for fans to get used to it, adding, “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…When you’re in the arena, you won’t see any change. When you’re watching at home, you won’t know the difference.”

As always, we want to hear your thoughts on these digitally enhanced dasher boards. Cast your vote in the poll below!

By Della Young


Are you in favor of the new digital advertising on the dasher boards?

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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18 Responses to Digital Disasters: NHL’s Enhanced Dasher Boards Debut With Glitches During First Two Months (Poll)

  1. Anonymous says:

    Even when it works right, it hurts my head. They should stop the moving graphics while the puck is in play. At minimum

  2. Anonymous says:

    They are tough to deal with. Agree. Stop the dynamic adds during play.

  3. Lance says:

    In modern life, advertising and propaganda are out of control. I’d like someone to attempt to count how many particular ads a viewer sees and hears in any given Caps game on TV. My guess is 8,000. We are in hell.

    • Jon Sorensen says:

      Lol. You are probably close on your guess.

      • Lance says:

        Jon, 8,000 is probably way too low. Each player is wearing an ad. That’s 40+ ads right there.

        • novafyre says:

          Jersey ad plus helmet ad. I guess you could count the NHL and team logos as ads as well. Then when you add a special event patch on . . .

          • Lance says:

            Yeah, Nova! I counted 6 ads on John Carlson in the recent NJ game recap. No special patches but 6 x 40 players is 240 advertisements and propaganda opportunities before the puck drops. My guess of 8,000 ads is clearly way low.

  4. Della Young says:

    I tolerate it. Not my absolute favourite thing, but not the absolute worst in my opinion.

  5. Rich says:

    They don’t bug me all that much because I don’t view it as being all that different from the electronic advertising boards you see along the sidelines during the World Cup (and other soccer games). It’s perhaps a little weirder to see Caps-logo ads on another team’s boards, but Alan May told me both teams get the same digital ads except when a game is played in Canada, so that at least explains it. As far as glitches go, well, NBC Sports Washington still has glitches with the virtual ads they place on the glass and those have been around for several years, so glitches don’t surprise me.

    • novafyre says:

      I was told that the ads are tied to your tv provider. If watching any game on NBCSW you’re going to get NBCSW ads no matter where the game is played. I suppose that ESPN and TNT are doing different ads for each team’s region but don’t know what they are doing for viewers in neither area.

      The ads on Bolts (Bally Sports) games are not as animated as those used for the Caps (NBCSW). I watched the Caps-Bolts game on both telecasts and the Bally ones did not bother me nearly as much because they just blinked on. The NBCSW ads were moving all over the place.

  6. Jonathan G Ohleger says:

    Watching a car driving around the dasher during a power play is very distracting

  7. Anonymous says:

    i was chatting with a friend about ads in general. most of them have zero to do with the actual product and just try to wow morons with flashy graphics or some other crap

  8. Mike J says:

    It’s frustrating to me that they’re out of focus and almost vibrating or bouncing while the game is going on. If they could just keep them in focus and not shift them while the play was going on that would definitely make it less annoying.

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