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Disney and NHL to create Big City Greens live animation of NY Rangers v Washington Capitals game

First ever 'NHL Big City Greens Classic' to offer a live alternate broadcast during the fixture on Disney and ESPN channels.

15 February 2023 Rory Jones


Disney is producing a live animated broadcast of the Washington Capitals and New York Rangers’ National Hockey League (NHL) game on 14th March.


  • Live animation to feature broadcast of players modelled on characters from Disney’s ‘Big City Greens’ cartoon
  • Alternate broadcast will air on Disney’s linear channels, as well as on the ESPN+ and Disney+ streaming services
  • Main telecast of the game will air on ESPN and ESPN+
  • Data from the NHL Edge player and puck tracking will used to recreate the action
  • Verizon, Beyond Sports and Silver Spoon also providing services to produce live animations


This marks the NHL’s first experiment with live animations during games, following similar child-orientated broadcasts launched by the National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA). The NFL and domestic media partner CBS have produced Nickelodeon alternate game broadcasts, while the NBA worked with Warner Bros Discovery on a Cartoon Network-themed Slam Dunk Contest production.


“Do we just take a game as it is and stick that there, or does it need to look different than it is?” asks Lehanski,” Dave Lehanski, executive vice president of business development and innovation at the NHL, told Variety. “This is still the game. It’s a real game. It’s the real event, all the sounds and the sights, but it’s going to look different and have these different elements that will resonate with the younger audience.”

Coming next:

The Rangers v Capitals alternate broadcast will air on 14th March, with more details regarding the first-of-its-kind production to be announced closer to the game.

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