Social Media Central to TSN’s 2012 NHL Draft Coverage

With the Edmonton Oilers weighing their needs at defense against the skills of the NHL’s top draft prospect, right wing Nail Yakupov, the first pick in the 2012 NHL Draft is hardly a lock.  Tonight, TSN will be on-site at the CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh, PA, to broadcast every First Round pick and trade live, beginning at 7 p.m.

New for the 2012 NHL Draft, TSN will debut the DraftCentre Social Lounge, located in the back of the draft floor.  Hosted by Alyonka Larionov, the DraftCentre Social Lounge will deliver exclusive behind-the-scenes content, including interviews, videos, and photos, directly to

“We’ll grab players after they’ve been picked, bring them back to the Social Lounge with Alyonka, and she [may ask them to] phone their best friend right there from the draft floor, and we’ll capture that conversation,” says Mark Milliere, senior vice president of production, TSN, “Or, we’re going to try this: if they want to reach out and interact with the fans from the city they just got picked [by]. We’ll ask people to tweet us [their] Skype link, and we’ll try to get a Skype conversation going on right there from the draft floor between the draftee and a selected fan from that [draftee’s] new city.”

TSN’s DraftCentre Social Lounge will be a companion viewing experience, available on desktops and mobile devices; however, all content will be available on demand after the draft.

Informing And Involving The Viewers
After overhauling its graphics display for last year’s draft, TSN will again use the L-frame graphic throughout the broadcast.  The right side panel, featuring best picks, draft order, and more, will be built using a Chyron HyperX.  Continuing to up the emphasis on social media, TSN will run a Twitter banner across the bottom of the screen using a Harris IconStation.

“We went into it hoping for the best last year, [and] we were over the top with [the Twitter feedback] we got,” says Milliere. “We had established NHL stars on Twitter reaching out to the guys who were being picked saying, ‘Welcome to the team’. When someone got traded, same thing, [or] ‘Sorry to see you go’… so it really paid off. We’re hoping to get more of the same. Twitter’s a year older, so hopefully there’ll be that many more people embracing it.”

For both panels of the L-frame graphic, a clean feed will be sent from Pittsburgh to TSN’s control room in Toronto, where graphics will be inserted before the broadcast is sent out.

On The Floor
TSN will deploy 80 crewmembers and 15 cameras to Pittsburgh, including an RF camera new for this year.

“That’ll give us some neat shots of the draft tables,” says Milliere. “Normally, we would pick those shots off from up above in the stands, but we wanted to get down low into that area, so [the league] allowed us an RF camera down there.”

TSN will broadcast out of a Dome Productions HD truck, with a secondary uplink truck on-site for shoulder programming content and the DraftCentre Social Lounge feed. More than 200 prospect and 300 NHL player b-roll reels have been prepared for the broadcast.

South Of The Border
In the U.S., TSN’s coverage of the 2012 NHL Draft will be simulcast on NBC Sports Network, beginning at 7 p.m. NBC Sports Network will carry the first two hours of the First Round, with the final hour airing on CNBC.

Beginning at 9 p.m., the NHL Network will also simulcast the Draft.  NHL Network will carry Rounds 2-7 tomorrow, starting at 10 a.m.

Never Too Early To Think About Next Year
While the majority of the crew deployed to the CONSOL Energy Arena will be focused on the 2012 NHL Draft, a small portion of that crew will concentrate on 2013.

“We have a crew there who’s going to be on the draft floor and in the stands shooting a promo for next year’s draft,” says Milliere. “They’re doing a point-of-view perspective promo, where their camera is like the draftee, the first overall pick, and they’re going to simulate that POV experience to create next year’s promo for the Draft.”

Like the push to include an RF camera, TSN had to obtain permission from the NHL before putting the plans for a POV promo in motion.  The promo will air next June, as TSN gears up for the 2013 NHL Draft.

Says Milliere, “I think it’s a really clever idea and hopefully it all works out.”

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