It’s time for hockey season, news related to which I must cover because of the circumstances of my birth (Canada). So I will tell you that the NHL has a new slate of digital offerings for fans of the ice-based sport, including a new NHL.TV tvOS app for the latest generation Apple TV (which debuted during the pre-season). Also new this season is Arena, a new app created by streaming partner BAMTech which is designed to supplement the in-person experience at games in the venues of 12 participating NHL teams.
This is the first full season during which MLB spinoff BAMTech is the streaming provider, and digital product provider for the NHL. BAMTech emerged as an early powerhouse in digital streaming, powering everything from live sports to the standalone HBO Now subscription streaming app. They’re the standard-bearer in the industry, especially when it comes to managing the kind of scale of viewership only live sports can attract.
NHL.TV, which the NHL’s over-the-top streaming service, allows viewers to stream any out-of-market game both live and on-demand, across a variety of platforms including iOS, Android, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and now Apple TV. Streaming is available at 60fps, in HD resolution, and DVR features offer pause/rewind controls for live games. On iPad, the app also offers multitasking and picture-in-picture features on applicable device models. Ironically, NHL.TV isn’t available in Canada, where streaming is handled by Rogers GameCentre Live instead.
As for Arena, it’s a bit like MLB’s Ballpark, giving NHL fans at the 12 participating arenas the ability to check out a calendar of local events, as well as letting them buy their tickets and then present them on device for redemption. In-arena promotions, as well as in-seat delivery of concession items, are also built-in. The app will also help fans share their experiences on social with upcoming features, and paves the way for a full suite of mobile payment offerings for in-venue retailers to come.
Now I must return to playing hockey, which Canadians are required to do constantly during all daylight hours from October 1 through the end of April.