On January 20th, 1996, at the All-Star game in Boston Massachusetts, the NHL debut the infamous glowing puck. Fox and the NHL were trying to solve a problem that’s plagued hockey for a while. The ability for casual fans to follow the puck. It had a short life and in 1998 was sidelined for being garish and distracting. The technology wasn’t there yet but it might be now. The NHL is bringing back augmented reality for the 2019-2020 nationally televised season. The technology was called Fox Trax and it tracked the puck with infrared sensors 30 times a second and superimposed a very hazy circle around the puck on screen. ESPN said it made the puck look like a blueberry marinated in toxic waste and hockey fans hated it. Even though it garnered more viewers for Fox. It lasted two seasons until the NHL contract with Fox ended in 1998. The NHL has been on a steady rise with the value of its teams rising six percent since last year reaching a record $630 million per team. While regular season viewership is slightly down in 2018, more valuable postseason viewing has increased. In 2018, Stanley Cup Viewership was up 22 percent from 2016. But compared to other leagues like the NFL, MLB and NBA, its popularity is relatively small. So, they’re looking for more ways to reach out to more viewers. In 2013, the NHL began their own development on augmented reality tech. At the 2019 All-Star Game in San Jose, the NHL debuted the new puck and player tracking technology. Every player was fitted with a sensor on their shoulder pads and 40 sensor fitted pucks were brought to the game. Fourteen to 16 antennae were installed in the arena rafters to connect with the sensors and four cameras were dedicated just to tracking. They can track the players 200 times a second and track the puck 2,000 times every second with the accuracy within an inch. The technology was developed by German company jogmo world corp, a subsidiary of the Fraunhofer Institute. The Fraunhofer Institute had originally approached FIFA with their tracking tech, but they wouldn’t allow their players to wear tracking chips. They also developed entirely new tech just for the NHL. For example, since the pucks have to be frozen, they developed a small tray that you drop the puck into before the game which tells you if the puck is turned on and how much battery it has. The NHL says that the tech is going to be deployed in all 31 NHL arenas sometime during the 2019-2020 season. The goal. “If you’re a millennial or Gen Z in particular and you’re consuming sports differently than it’s ever been consumed before, we’re going to be right there for you giving you what you want.” Die hard hockey fans weren’t happy about puck tracking back in ’96 and they’re not happy about it now. But the NHL isn’t dissuaded. They hope in the words of Mathieu Schneider to solve the problem of, “What’s the thing you always say here as hockey people? It’s like I love watching the game live but I just don’t get it on TV.” The NHL is hoping that the barrage of data will make the game more immersive on television because it can be such a hard game to follow. They plan to show stats like shot speed, number of passes, player speed, acceleration and how far both the puck and players travel in a game. The NHL hopes the data will be used for gaming, fantasy leagues, and to just have more insight into the game of hockey. It’s another way to rope in casual viewers that have for the time being evaded them and they might bring back the infamous glowing puck. Thanks for watching. Throw us a like, click subscribe and don’t forget to ring the bell post notifications.