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The Debate Over The Digital Ad Boards Continues - Bad News

Published January 17, 2023 at 10:49

If you have been to a live hockey game or watched one on tv chances are you've noticed the high-tech virtual ads being displayed league-wide on arena boards during NHL broadcasts this season.

All though the NHL shared they are "pleased with the integration" of the new digitally enhanced dasherboards (DEDs), despite dealing with "a couple of technical glitches" along the way.

However, despite the NHL being happy with the new gimmick many hockey fans could care less about, there has even been some who want them removed after a young fan had had a seizure during the game due to the electronic new boards.

As well as fans complaining that the boards are distracting during game play, the NHL may have have to look into the because the NHL's fan bases opinion, which is what matters most.

But the league may not be drawing the kind of attention it's seeking from DEDs if some of the hot takes on social media are any indication.

The ads are dynamic and can change rapidly during the broadcast — much to harm viewers at home like Warrington, who find the visual transitions distracting when play is on.

"Maybe I'll get used to it, but so far it's hard to watch," he said.

Virtual ads generate more revenue.

Michael Naraine, an associate professor of sports management at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., said he believes these types of ads are here to stay.

"Coming out of COVID, sport organizations are looking for new revenue streams to diversify, and so dynamic ads aren't going anywhere any time soon (just like helmet decals and sweater patches)," Naraine said via email.

Being able to rotate more ads through the same space creates the opportunity to generate more revenue, he said, adding that the impetus to use them will become stronger as the technology improves and bugs are worked out.

In short, not everyone is impressed with what they have seen on their screens.

"Once you notice it, it's really hard to un-notice," said Darcy Warrington, a Saskatoon hockey-watcher who has found the appearance of the new ads jarring.

The NHL has certainly been eager to see the ads deployed, having worked for years with Supponor, a London-based virtual ad company, to deliver the final product. The ads aren't visible to fans watching the game at an arena.

"Supponor and the NHL have been discussing the potential use of digitally enhanced dasherboards for almost a decade," David Patton, senior vice-president of business development at the British company, told CBC News in an email.

Patton said upgrades were made to league arenas, and the technology was gradually tested out, eventually leading to this season's rollout. There are a total of 32 NHL arenas in Canada and the United States.

ESPN reports that "tens of millions" of dollars have been invested along the way to make these virtual ads a reality.

'Distracting and disruptive'

For Ontario hockey fan David Sutton, the ads are "distracting and disruptive to the experience of watching and feeling involved in the game."

They're also covering up the boards and their markings, which Sutton sees as key points of interest for people watching hockey games.
January 17   |   112 answers
The Debate Over The Digital Ad Boards Continues - Bad News

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