Artificial intelligence for on-ice advertising at the Bell Center

The Montreal Canadiens begin their 2022-2023 season at the Bell Center with many new players and brand new artificial intelligence. Its role is to “eat” the tapes… quite literally, since it is a technology that allows you to modify the advertising messages visible on TV throughout the game.

For this new season, the Canadian has equipped itself with an AI to display more visible and larger advertisements on the strip of its ice rink. They are, however, only visible to viewers, since it is a display technology that digitally replaces advertisements present in the real world.

When the main camera captures the action, you can see between three and five static commercials on TV at a time, in a 30-second rotation throughout the game. This is less than the 24 advertisements that we usually see at the same time around the rink, but their rotation still creates more advertising space per 60 minutes.

An announcer can also take complete control of the tape to create a “domination” effect, as the CH and National Hockey League teams call it. For example, one can imagine Ford, one of the Canadian’s main advertising partners, taking control of the strip at the start of a power play to run its pickup trucks there.

The equivalent of 30 income matches for CH

The Canadiens and the NHL call this technology DED, for ” digitally enhanced dasherboards or, to translate, “digital bands”. The main camera is used for approximately 80% of a game’s broadcast time. Ads will be stuck to tapes the rest of the time when other cameras are in use by the broadcaster.

This technology will be visible on both RDS and TVA Sports, both of which are broadcasting Canadian games in French this season. As one is a partner of the CH and the other of the NHL, the advertisers may vary from game to game.

Above all, this new technology will allow the Canadian to sell its own advertising when the team plays abroad. “We have just won commercials during 30 matches abroad which will be broadcast on RDS,” said the To have to Hubert Richard, senior vice-president of corporate sales for the Montreal Canadiens. On the air of its broadcasting partner, the team will be able to superimpose its own advertisements on those of the team receiving it.

Before, Quebec viewers saw the advertising pasted on the tapes by the team that hosted the CH. Now he will see ads from the advertising partners of the Montreal team. The NHL will be able to do the same on TVA Sports, which owns the rights to the rest of CH matches abroad.

It will be the same for all teams in the league, since these digital tapes will be used everywhere.

More ads, less ads

Fans who were already grumbling about the presence of new advertisements on hockey helmets and jerseys could once again find cause for complaint.

The NHL also informs that these new digital advertising strips are 4 to 8 times larger than the static strips. However, she assures that two thirds of the amateurs polled about this technology considered it to be of high quality and seemed to have a favorable opinion of it. The advertising messages displayed using DED technology are also more spaced out and clearer.

The Canadian does not think that this new advertising technology will plague Quebec hockey fans. On TV or on the ice, the NHL has not yet reached the level of advertising saturation of other professional sports leagues, recalls Hubert Richard.

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