Cricket, Tilly, and Ovie: How ESPN Pulled Off the NHL Big City Greens Classic Animated Broadcast

ESPN and NHL leaders share their experience producing the unique alternate live game production

Earlier this year, ESPN and the National Hockey League presented the next chapter in kids-focused sports broadcasts: ESPN’s Big City Greens NHL Classic, which was the first-ever fully animated game telecast.

Besides live, real-time volumetric animation of players on the ice, ESPN Creative Studio created motion-captured animated versions of the ESPN commentators calling the game, as well live interviews with characters from Disney’s Emmy Award-winning animated series using live facial-capture technology.

In this in-depth presentation, you’ll get a peek at the creative choices, the technical challenges, and the impressive execution of this unique and innovative broadcast that was streamed as an alternate broadcast on ESPN+.

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This presentation was hosted at the 2023 SVG Sports Graphics Forum in New York City on May 11, 2023.

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