Cup qualifiers will be ‘visually exciting’ with new camera angles

The NHL plans to show fans camera angles they never saw in a hockey broadcast when the Stanley Cup Qualifiers kick off in Edmonton and Toronto on August 1.

“A lot of times, the considerations about where the cameras go in the arenas are based on where our fans are because we don’t want to block our fans from the viewing experience,” Steve Mayer, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Content Officer for NHL Events and entertainment. he said Thursday. “We don’t have fans here, so we can walk through an arena like this and find the perfect and ideal positions for each of our cameras.”

The NHL Back to Game Plan, which has 24 teams competing for the Stanley Cup, 12 in the downtown city of Toronto’s Eastern Conference and 12 teams in the Western Conference in Edmonton, does not include fans in the arenas. due to health and safety. coronavirus related regulations. Mayer said that means the NHL must create a product made for television to showcase the Cup race.

League broadcast partners Sportsnet and NBC will use 32 cameras in each arena, 12 more than normal for a national broadcast. They will also use a JitaCam, a camera on a large 360-degree crane that can be placed on ice.

Sportsnet will control the live broadcast from Rogers Place in Edmonton, which will host all Western Conference games in the Qualifiers and the first two rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, as well as all games in the Conference Finals and the Stanley Cup Final.

NBC will control the broadcast from Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, the site of all Eastern Conference games in the Qualifiers and the first two rounds of the playoffs.

In the Qualifiers, the top four teams from each conference will play a round-robin to determine the qualification for the playoffs. The remaining eight teams in each conference will play the best series of 5, with the winners advancing to the playoffs. The loser of each series will have the opportunity to choose No. 1 in the NHL Draft 2020 in the Second Phase of the NHL Draft Lottery, which will take place on August 10.

“Our goal is to be able to show a hockey game in a way that shows speed and you feel like you’re part of the game, you’re looking with the energy that sometimes ice doesn’t come from the game,” Mayer said. “We all want our game to be better translated for television. We believe that in this tournament, we will be able to do it in an even greater way due to the way we can bring our fans into the game, very low, show the speed, listen to the sounds. “

Each game will also look unique to the television audience based on the set design the NHL is using in each arena, including LED displays, monitors, and stages.

The NHL also worked with gameplay representatives from each of the 24 participating teams to collect audio that is unique to their home arenas, including goal horns, music compilations in the arena, motivational videos, and clips specially produced by fans to replicate unique songs for each one. market.

“The energy of set design and some of the things we plan to do will make it visually exciting,” said Mayer. “I’m very excited about the broadcasts, being able to do a few different things throughout the tournament and giving our fans an amazing experience if they can’t be here at home.”

Microphones will be placed throughout the arena, even at ice level, to capture more sounds from the game.

“You will hear more of what happens on the ice without the noise of the crowd,” said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman. “And in terms of stage design and what the arena will look like from a broadcast point of view, if you see and remember what we do at all of our outdoor games and our other events, Steve and his group are remarkably creative. We believe this will be an attractive television product. “

The League will not use virtual announcements at the start of the tournament, Mayer said, although regional networks covering games in the Qualifiers and the first round of the playoffs may use virtual announcements in the glass behind each goal.

“We are looking at our environment in some way as virtual, but also, as we have spoken, we seek to grow this and be fluid,” Mayer said. “There are possibilities as we go through later rounds to add a virtual component to the environment for the conference [finals] and the

Commissioner Bettman said the idea is not to replace the normality of an NHL game, especially a playoff game, but to give a different appearance on television.

“There is nothing better in person from a sporting point of view than an NHL game,” said the Commissioner. “The energy, the noise, the excitement of our crowds may be irreplaceable from that point of view, but this will become a very entertaining and compelling experience.”