Hockey Digital Board Advertising

Hockey Digital Board Advertising

At Hockey Rink Boards we sell the tried and true version of rink board advertising – however with the introduction of new technologies we thought it would be neat to check out how much progress has been made with these modern forms of rink side advertising.

According to the Hockey Writers the NHL began experimenting with virtual overlays that would allow for one brand to appear on all the rink boards in the Air Canada Centre at one time.

This is similar technology to what has been used in European soccer for some time. You’ve probably seen videos on YouTube where different ads appear for different broadcasts with this technology.

This would have similar implications in the NHL where let’s say the Rangers are playing the Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden. With this technology US viewers might see an add for GEICO, while the Canadian viewers would see ads for Canadian Tire.

Presumably this would allow for more efficient advertising where money can be more targeted to specific regions or markets.

The London-based company that developed a lot of the technology being used in NHL rinks has taken a few years to work on developing these tools and actually uses infrared signals to produce the images television viewers see. There is a thin film that is applied to the boards similar to a “green screen”.

This infrared technology requires that TV cameras are equipped with special equipment to detect these signals.

An important part of leveraging this technology is making sure that is passes the “eye test” for viewers. The NHL has instituted some rules for broadcasters including making sure that the images themselves are controlled as to not be overly distracting. Additionally the league has mandated that the advertising only change when the camera cuts away from the boards, to minimize distractions.

What is interesting is how selling advertising on this digital technology works. Since physical board ads don’t change advertisers are usually charged a per game or annual fee – however with this digital technology it is based on airtime. 

This is certainly some pretty interesting technology for advertisers and NHL marketing executives as it permits more customized and targeted advertising which is important is todays data-driven age. We certainly don’t expect local minor hockey rinks to be installing these advanced tools anytime soon but it is pretty interesting to see how rink advertising is evolving at the highest levels of hockey!