Sportsnet Unveils New State-of-the-Art Studio for NHL Broadcasts

Yesterday, Rogers Communications, the new Canadian English broadcast rights-holder to the NHL, unveiled a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art studio that will be the home of hockey in Canada for the next 12 years. Covering 11,070 square feet or 1,024 square metres, Rogers turned Studio 41 of the Canadian Broadcast Centre into the brand-new home of the NHL on Sportsnet, Hockey Night in Canada, Rogers Hometown Hockey, and Sportsnet’s Hockey Central. Created by Jack Morton PDG, the design firm that created CTV’s 2010 and 2012 Olympic sets, the NBC Sports Group studios in Stamford, Connecticut, Golf Channel’s studios in Orlando, the NBA on TNT studio in Atlanta, and ABC’s World News Tonight set in New York, the set took 8 months and C$4.5 million to go from concept to reality.

Taking a page from the NBA on TNT studio, the main feature of the new set is a 38′ x 11′ ultra-high resolution monitor dubbed “Goliath” The monitor is flanked by a catwalk where a host can introduce the broadcast to a game. The main desk, which will be used for Scotiabank Wednesday Night Hockey and Hockey Night in Canada, takes a page from FOX Sports’ main studio in Los Angeles and completely rotates 360 degrees. There are a couple of unique features to the set. “The Waterfall” is a 32-monitor video wall/floor that also doubles as a demonstration area to talk about plays and breaking them down. One of my favorite features of the new set is the Puck Wall: a vertical monitor and accompanying wall containing 30 pucks for all 30 NHL teams. When an analyst takes one of the acrylic pucks from the wall and is places into the holster at the bottom of the control module, associated imagery and statistics for that respective team pop up on the monitor. There is also a digital control pad on the control module where an analyst can switch statistics for the featured team selected on the wall. The Rogers Tech Zone features a 90-inch touchscreen monitor where an analyst can break down plays like a coach, and where live stats can be featured. Just a stone’s throw away from the Puck Wall is something that I like to call “Strombo’s Corner”: an interview area with George Stroumboulopoulos’ signature red chairs to talk about what’s going out in the world of hockey. The final part of the set is the area where Sportsnet’s regional NHL broadcasts will have their desks to broadcast.  Two of the desks are duplexed with the lower-level desk equipped for radio simulcasting Sportsnet/Sportsnet Radio’s “Hockey Central at Noon.” The third regional set will double as the desk where Don Cherry and Ron MacLean will do Coach’s Corner.

As for watching the game itself, there will be new graphics: not the one used by CBC for the last three seasons, and not the one Sportsnet has been using for the last three years. These new graphics are designed in-house by Rogers Creative Group, featuring 10 different custom opening animations (One each for Sportsnet’s five regional broadcasts, Two for Hockey Central, and three for Rogers’ nationally-televised broadcasts), 250 player animations, and more than 1,000 support animations that enhance storytelling and game analysis for viewers across Canada. Also, when you get to watch Hockey Night in Canada, you’ll get to hear an updated version of Colin Oberst’s “Canadian Gold”, reorchestrated by the man who brought you the theme of Blue Jays Baseball on Sportsnet, Canadian musician and composer Stephan Moccio. For some of you, you might consider the new studio the ultimate man-cave. For me, the set officially cements Rogers’ place as Canada’s Home for Hockey for the next 12 years.

To see photos of the Sportsnet’s new NHL studio, please refer these two articles (courtesy of Sportsnet.ca):

Unveiling Sportsnet’s New NHL Studio & The Studio By the Numbers: http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/sportsnet-unveils-new-hockey-central-studio/

10 Things to Know About Sportsnet’s New NHL Studio: http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/rogers-sportsnet-unveils-new-nhl-hockey-night-in-canada-cbc-studio-10-things-to-know/

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