Emerging Tech, Data & Media , Sustainable Innovation

NHL to introduce new ‘smart puck’ to track real-time data

Ice-hockey league also partners with the Chemours for sustainable rink solutions.

by Elena Holmes

NHL to introduce new ‘smart puck’ to track real-time data

The National Hockey League (NHL) plans to introduce a smart puck, according to Dave Lehanski, senior vice president of business developments and global partnerships at the NHL.

Lehanski announced at SAP’s North American Sports Forum that the technology embedded in the new puck will allow the league to track movement on ice at a rate of around 200 times a second, a significant improvement on current live data tracking.

Lehanski believes the collection of data will ultimately enhance broadcasts, provide a deeper experience for fans and open up potential in-game betting options.

Coaches could also use the provided data during games and the league's current distributed iPads would utilize the technology on the bench.

The league is currently working with Apple and SAP on the improvements.

According to Lehanski, the technology will likely be introduced and tested in 2019, either during next season's playoffs or the start of the 2019/2020 season.

In October, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman revealed the plans for a league-wide player and puck tracking system. According to Bettman, the league hopes to have the system operational for the 2019/20 season.

“There’s no doubt that [sports betting] will be a part of the fan experience almost across any touchpoint. Live streaming products will start to incorporate betting functionality,” Lehanski said. “And today, the foundation for that experience is data. We’re seeing that 75 percent of all bets in sports now are in-game prop bets.

“The only way we can do that in a real-time manner is to be aggregating data and distributing it on a real-time basis with someone who can create odds and probabilities in real time and distribute that to the fan.”

Meanwhile, the NHL has agreed a multi-year partnership with the Chemours Company that see the US chemical firm provide sustainable refrigerant solutions to NHL and community rinks across North America.

The deal is aimed at identifying cost-effective, sustainable alternatives, such as Opteon refrigerants which are non-ozone depleting and have a low global warming potential.

The news follows the release of the 2018 NHL Sustainability Report which supports the NHL Greener Rinks Initiative, a league-wide program committed to sharing sustainable business practices with community rink owners and operators.