Corporate synergy is bringing a live NHL game to Disney – with a twist.

Per a Tuesday release, Disney will air a live, animated NHL game, which they’re calling the NHL Big City Greens Classic, on March 14th, which will also be available on Disney XD, ESPN+, and Disney+. The traditional broadcast of the Capitals-Rangers game will air on ESPN and ESPN+.

The first-of-its-kind alternate presentation will leverage NHL Edge positioning data (puck and player tracking) to recreate the action on the ice as it is happening while featuring “Big City Greens” characters skating alongside animated versions of the NHL players. The real-time animation will be produced in association with ESPN Edge Innovation Center and NHL EDGE Innovation partners Verizon, Beyond Sports and Silver Spoon.

ESPN commentators will call the action for the “NHL Big City Greens Classic,” and “Big City Greens” talent, including the Houghton brothers and Marieve Herington (the voice of Tilly), will also be featured in the presentation. More details regarding the first-of-its-kind production will be announced closer to the game.

Here’s a teaser.

I’m guessing our audience isn’t the target market for this broadcast, but man, it’s pretty ambitious. We’ve seen networks air tweaked sports content on kid-focused networks (the Nickelodeon NFL broadcasts perhaps most significantly), but airing a wholly animated live game is a different beast. If Disney nails the execution, they’ll rightfully be lauded for their ambition. If not, the company should still get some credit for trying something out of the box.


About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.