Cisco Canada Blog

How Cisco technology is helping the NHL® enhance its fan experience Part 2

June 13, 2013

This week we’re talking with Lyndsey Read, NHL® Network Producer, about how Cisco technology is used in the delivery of NHL Network content. In part one of our discussion, we looked at how Cisco TelePresence is impacting the quality of content the NHL Network is providing fans across the globe.

MC: We’re excited that Cisco can work with the NHL to find solutions that help you enhance your product. To that end, another relatively new broadcast feature is the Cisco NHL Arena Cam. Can you tell us what the Arena Cams are and how they impact NHL Network productions?

LR: The NHL Arena Cams are remotely controlled cameras that are used to capture footage for broadcasts. The cool part is that they’re operated from our control rooms in New York City and Toronto, and the content is exclusive to NHL Network. This again gives our fans unprecedented access to our game, with content they can’t find anywhere else.

NHL Studios

Now we have access to 29 of the 30 arenas via these cameras. We can broadcast live feeds or taped content remotely. The cameras are stationed under the central scoreboard, providing a panoramic view of the ice surface. And better yet, the cameras are integrated with audio headsets, so we can connect players, coaches and reporters with our control room back in New York City.

The bottom line is that our fans get a better experience when we can produce better content. And these arena cameras do two important things from a production perspective. First, they enable us to execute better interviews by connecting people visually with the subjects on location – we give a coach or player a headset and they stand near the bench, look up at the scoreboard and you have an interview. It’s that easy.

Technology Overview
Cisco Telepresence
The NHL uses Cisco TelePresence infrastructure within its New York City broadcast studio, enabling the integration of a variety of Telepresence solutions into broadcasts.
Specific Products:
Telepresence C90 Series (Studio)
Cisco Jabber Video for Telepresence (Remote End)
Arena Cams
The Arena Cam platform includes Cisco encoders / decoders, which enable the efficient transfer of video over the network.
Specific Products:
Cisco D9094 Encoder
Cisco D9894 Decoder

Second, the arena cameras create exclusive content and access for us. We’re the only camera mounted on the center scoreboard and we can operate it remotely 24/7, so we have a unique vantage point and the ability to capture content in real time.

Here’s an example of all the opportunities we have on a typical day.  In the morning, our control room records teams’ morning skates, which can be used – for example – when we are able to get a first look at an injured player’s return to the ice.  Following the morning skate, these cameras also allow us to perform interviews with players and coaches who are finishing up practice. These conversations are recorded, distributed and aired in our shows. Later in the day, our local reporters join us live, via the same setup, to help us preview and analyze the matchup. And as we get closer to game time, we are able to take fans inside the building to get a peek at the pregame warmup. And again, the shots are totally exclusive to the NHL and we can deliver them straight to our fans.

Obviously, there is a technology infrastructure that enables this – and that’s where Cisco contributes to the platform – but from a production standpoint, this gives us tremendous flexibility and drastically reduces the logistical challenges of gathering video content in a traditional way. And at the end of the day, our fans make the NHL the great league that it is, and we hope to continue to give them an unparalleled fan experience for years to come.

Thank you so much for joining me today, Lyndsey. At Cisco we believe that connecting the unconnected is going to change the way we all live, work and play and it’s clear that the NHL, with Arena Cams and remote TelePresence, is ahead of the game (pardon the pun) already. We’re proud to work with you and the NHL to bring fans closer to the world’s best game than ever before.

If you want to see Cisco TelePresence and the Cisco Arena Cams in action, visit the Cisco NHL Live video channel or tune into Cisco NHL Live! on the NHL Network every Monday – Friday from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. EST.

Read_Lyndsey_HeadshotAs a Producer at the NHL Network, Lyndsey Read oversees the station’s daily preview show, Cisco NHL Live. The show airs Monday through Friday, live from 5-7ET from the NHL Store in the heart of New York City. The 2-hour program informs and entertains hockey fans as they get ready for the nightly matchups across the National Hockey League. Lyndsey makes editorial decisions on news stories, produces guest interviews and designs the overall content for each production. During the show, she serves as the leader in the Control Room alongside the show Director. As the Producer, Lyndsey guides the co-hosts and a team of trained professionals through a complicated sequence of show elements – from remote interviews to feature packages to live pregame warmup skates. In addition to Cisco NHL Live, Lyndsey also assists in the management of NHL Studios original content and helps integrate those creative assets with other league brands including programming from Toronto, and on-site in Arenas.

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  1. Cisco Canada

    “Thank you for reaching out. While we do provide technology to capture certain camera angles, it is up to the broadcasters to direct how they synchronize their commentary with what you see on TV. Again, thank you for your comment and enjoy the season!”

  2. I just watched the Vancouver-Ottawa hockey game in which you say Cisco has helped with the viewing experience. Sorry but it is a failure for the hockey fan. The cameras appear to be too far from the ice surface to enjoy the game, the broadcasters who apparently are in New York are talking about something being shown on their screen but it isn’t on ours, etc. Too bad – we look forward to seeing a game and have it ruined by your experiments.