The union between Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League reached another milestone this week when NHL Network debuted its new studio set, called “The Rink,” just in time for the opening of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. With a back wall LED display measuring 12-feet high and 20-feet wide and a robotic camera setup that positions three cameras on a track system, the set promises to take the network into its next chapter.
“We’re excited,” says Susan Stone, SVP, Operations and Engineering at MLB Network. “[This season] has been a process and we have gone through a lot of changes with new talent and programming. So this was the next logical step to make sure that the NHL had its own home.”
In October, NHL Network began anew from the headquarters of MLB Advanced Media, sharing space and resources as part of a multi-year deal aimed at revitalizing the home of hockey and improving its online product.
Upon its relaunch from Secaucus, the former home of MSNBC, the network took over MLB Network’s Studio K and began sharing Studio 21.
Studio 21 worked during MLB’s off months, but now baseball is back and NHL is entering the playoff season, meaning a crunch for studio space in the evenings, as both networks program live wrap around programming (such as “MLB Tonight” and “NHL Tonight”).
The solution? A new dedicated studio for hockey, dubbed “The Rink,” which creates a more permanent home at the facility for NHL Network.
NHL Network has a brand new look, just in time for playoffs.
Back in August, the NHL announced it was launching a digital rights partnership with MLB Advanced Media in which MLBAM would have access to all digital platforms and distribution of NHL Network programming, among other responsibilities. This alliance required NHL Network to move its daily on-air operations from Toronto to MLB Network's headquarters in New Jersey.
The 2016 Olympic Games are now less than a year away, and broadcasting networks are in full preparation mode for the massive event. NBC Sports, the U.S. home of the games, usually has one of the largest broadcasting presences at the International Broadcasting Center, and 2016 looks to be on par with previous efforts.
Jim Bell, NBC’s Olympic EP, shared a sneak peek of the proposed setup in Rio: