The NHL is making a heavy push with its online offerings, announcing a sweeping array of new partnerships and products that are designed to make the league a prominent player in the digital media realm. With the NHL having a smaller television deal with Comcast's VERSUS, the league is able to be highly flexible in their online push where MLB and the NFL may not due to exclusivity agreements with the likes of CBS, ESPN, FOX, and TBS.
Image Courtesy - NHL
NHL.com Redesign. Games On DemandThe league today launched the beta of the new NHL.com which heavily leverages the League’s assets in digital content and video.
“As the NHL evolves as a media company, platforms such as NHL.com are amplifying the NHL voice, bringing fans to places inside the game that they’ve never had access to before,” said NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins. “NHL.com is a key to the League’s growth, and the advancements at the new NHL.com highlight the emphasis we’re putting on digital.”
The key aspect of the redesign is what the NHL is calling GameCenter Live.
GameCenter Live is a subscription service which allows fans to catch games streamed online. According to the league, the online interface for GameCenter will offer select video highlights, real-time stats, play-by-play tracking, in-game photos, audio feeds, social networking and much more.
GameCenter Live will be available in October.
NHL.com Partners with Yahoo! Sports for Fantasy GameAlong with the GameCenter Live, the NHL announced that they have partnered with Yahoo! Sports to offer fantasy hockey. In doing so, the NHL becomes the first sports league to collaborate with Yahoo! Sports.
A key aspect of the partnership, the fantasy sports product will have actual integrated footage within the game. With NHL video embedded into the game, fans can utilize the footage to track players’ performances, scout players and research players for their rosters. The official fantasy hockey game leverages Yahoo! Sports content, including tight integration of NHL stats and player data. The game is available at http://hockey.fantasysports.yahoo.com/hockey.
“Working with the NHL to make the first official fantasy hockey game available on Yahoo! Sports continues our commitment to deliver the #1 fantasy games on the Internet,” said Yahoo! Sports & Entertainment Vice-President and General Manager Jimmy Pitaro. . “It’s a great match up – the fastest growing sports site teamed up with the fastest game on earth to give loyal hockey fans even more action, even in their fantasy.”
Other Features of NHL.com Relaunch
Integration of Single Sign-On (SSO) - SSO lets fans sign on once to NHL.com and have a relevant, personalized experience in every content area at NHL.com -- editorial, multimedia, images, product and service offerings, etc.
"What's next" programming - According to the NHL, "What's next" is "an approach to Web site programming that goes beyond simple content population to offer fans layer upon layer of relevant content about their favorite team and players."
A bigger editorial voice - In addition to more exclusive editorial, content will now be bundled with other relevant media such as pictures, video and statistics.
Improved Photos - Photos will now have a dedicated location, allowing fans to “flip and browse,” as well as instantly purchase photos of their favorite moments.
Richer Content - New special features such as schedule pages that tell fans where to find the broadcast of local games; ticket pages that pop-up maps of the arenas; and player pages that include photo galleries and video highlights of every active player in the NHL.
“The new NHL.com is a revolution in NHL programming, not simply the evolution of a Web site,” said NHL Senior Vice President/Executive in Charge of Programming and New Media Andre Mika. “The re-programming of NHL.com now puts the League in the same class as the top media properties on the Web, and we have an aggressive roadmap for further development and growth.”
Source: National Hockey League
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