The NHL on NBC is coming to an end for at least now, with NBC dropping out of the bidding for the league’s rights (and reportedly only putting in a low offer) and those rights going to ESPN and Turner through 2027-28. So the 2021 NHL playoffs are NBC’s final national NHL games until the 2028-29 season. But, with those playoffs starting Saturday night with the Washington Capitals-Boston Bruins series, the scorebug they revealed is quite different from what we’ve seen on their hockey coverage in the past.
(Update: We initially said this was completely new; it turns out they debuted it earlier this month, possibly on the Rangers-Capitals Wednesday game last week. Our apologies. Original post continues below.)
Here are a couple of looks at the new one from AA’s Ken Fang:
— Ken Fang — Now totally vaccinated! (@fangsbites) May 16, 2021
As Ken noted in a follow-up tweet, yes, this is in the top left, not the top right. That placement is similar to the previous one, but this scorebug is much more vertical and less horizontal. The game clock is also moved to the left of the teams and scores from the right. Here’s what the old scorebug looked like, from the 2020 Stanley Cup Final:
This is quite a significant change, and it’s interesting to see a network do that in its final season. Of course, the lead time for broadcast graphics changes can often be significant, so it’s quite possible this was in the works long before it was determined that this was to be NBC’s final postseason for at least a while. And, as Ken notes, NBC still has several regional sports networks with local NHL deals, so this could possibly be used there. At any rate, it’s an interesting change, and a very different look from what we’ve usually seen in hockey.
[Ken Fang on Twitter]