January 06, 2009
Later this week, we're going to take a critical look at the NHL's online pay-per-view option GameCenter Live, featuring an enlightening interview with Andre Mika, Senior VP/Executive in Charge of Programming, New Media for the League. He's got this mad scientist thing going on when it comes to the future of digital and televised content for the NHL, and it's really rather exciting.
For now, we wanted to share this bit of news that emerged from the chat. When asked if the NHL was interested in bringing classic games and other content -- like, for example, old VHS highlight tapes -- to NHL.com, Mika answered:
"We're in the midst of dumping in 50-75 classic games into GameCenter Live. In the next 30-60 days, you're to see a lot of classic games available," he said. "What we're doing now with the old library is digitizing it so we can get it all online."
Some of the content will be free on NHL.com, but it sounds like many of the classic games are probably going to be a part of the GameCenter Live subscription.
The content goes all the way back to the 1940s, and he said the quality of the video isn't a concern. "I think real hockey fans aren't bummed if they look at an old Bobby Hull game and the video's not great, because it can't be great -- it was shot the way it was shot. They're more enthused about he content," he said.
Besides video, Mika said the League is currently undertaking an intriguing digital documentation project: Creating a database of starting lineup sheets from virtually every game played in the NHL over the last 70 years.
"We've actually got game sheets that go back to the 1930s that we're digitizing," he said. "You'll be able to go back 40 or 50 years and pull up the real, handwritten starting lineup from games. If we have video, you can pull that up and then watch that game, too."
Pretty cool, right? Much more later this week.