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ESPN Goes Real-Time Again for 2nd ‘NHL Big City Greens Classic’

Cricket, Remy, and other show characters will join ESPN, Disney Branded Television, and the NHL for a live, animated game telecast of the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Boston Bruins that will feature real-time technology recreating the action on the ice with series’ characters skating alongside animated versions of the players; telecast coming March 9.

ESPN, Disney Branded Television, and the National Hockey League (NHL) have teamed up again to bring fans the second NHL Big City Greens Classic, a live, animated NHL game telecast featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Boston Bruins… and characters from the hit series, on March 9 at 3 p.m. ET. Last year’s NHL Big City Greens Classic featuring the Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers was the first-of-its-kind live volumetric animation presentation. Check out the preview / test clips below!

The alternate presentation of the Penguins-Bruins game will feature real-time, virtually recreated animation of NHL players and teams modeled after characters on Disney Channel’s hit animated series Big City Greens. ESPN+, Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Disney+ will present the live, animated telecast, while the traditional telecast will be available on ABC and ESPN+.

The presentation will leverage tracking technology to recreate the action on the ice as it is happening while featuring the popular series’ characters skating alongside animated versions of the NHL players.

Highlights announced for this year’s animated telecast:

  • The presentation will blend two types of tracking technologies – NHL EDGE positional data (NHL Puck and Player tracking) and Hawk-Eye Innovations optical tracking – to create more dynamic player and character movement to help fans better visualize detailed limb and stick movement and mannerisms.
  • With the blessing of captains Brad Marchand and Sidney Crosby, Big City Greens' very own Gramma will coach the Bruins, while her grandson, Cricket, will coach the Penguins.
  • The ESPN commentators calling the action on the animated telecast – Drew Carter, Kevin Weekes, and Arda Öcal – will wear virtual reality headsets for motion capture to immerse them in the animated environment of Times Circle.
  • Big City Greens’ voice talent will be featured in the presentation, including creator and executive producer Chris Houghton (Cricket), Marieve Herington (Tilly), Zeno Robinson (Remy), Artemis Pebdani (Gramma), and creator and executive producer Shane Houghton (various characters).
  • The two intermissions of the game will feature an animated skills competition between the Big City Greens characters.

Check out the great clips prepared by the upcoming telecast’s producer, including tests and some special comments from team captains Marchand and Crosby – click here for the full playlist!

ESPN Edge Innovation Center and NHL EDGE Innovation partner Beyond Sports produce the real-time animation. Outside the U.S., the NHL Big City Greens Classic will be available on Disney+ in select countries.

Source: Disney

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.