The interface of the app should be familiar to anyone that's tried MLB.tv, released earlier this year on PS3. With the app installed, PS3 owners will be able to access features like post-game highlights, team schedules, standings, player stats and profiles, and the full NHL scoreboard. Fans that subscribe to the GameCenter Live service ($169 annually) will get additional features, most notably the ability to stream live out-of-market games and "select" playoff broadcasts. In addition to the live streams, subscribers will get access to full-length and condensed replays of games 48 hours after they air (no blackouts). Included with membership is access to the NHL Vault, which gives you instant access to full replays of classic NHL games, going as far back as the 1960s.
NHL's Senior Director of Digital Business Development Alexandre G. Simon told us that the decision to partner with Sony exclusively was an easy one, after a successful experience selling content on the PlayStation Network's video service. According to Simon, the GameCenter app is a huge opportunity for the league to expand its reach to gamers who may be familiar with the NHL games, but haven't had the ability to regularly follow live games. With no ISP restrictions, and with "about half" of fans following out-of-market teams, the GameCenter app might just lure in some new followers -- especially for those who don't subscribe or have access to the Versus cable channel, where the NHL currently resides.
It appears Sony's strategy is very different from that of Microsoft's, which recently added ESPN highlights and ESPN3 programming to the Xbox Live Gold package, opting instead to work with the sports leagues directly. PlayStation Network's Susan Panico wouldn't confirm a specific business approach, but said that more sports partnerships were definitely possible. She said that MLB.tv was a greater success than anticipated.
Through an extensive e-mail campaign, and featured placement on the PlayStation Store and "What's New," Sony hopes to see the same success for this NHL app.
NHL GameCenter Application Available Free to PlayStation®Plus Members
FOSTER CITY, Calif., November 10, 2010 – Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) and the National Hockey League (NHL) today announced that NHL GameCenter LIVE™, an online service offering streaming video of live games, is available now on the PlayStation®3 (PS3™), an exclusive offer for PS3 users making it the first and only gaming console to stream live hockey games in High Definition (HD). The combination of the PS3 system's technical capabilities and NHL's live HD streaming technology showcases the added power and potential of PS3 as an in-home platform for all types of entertainment: games, movies and TV shows, music, original content, social networks and, of course, live sporting events.
NHL GameCenter LIVE subscribers who enjoy free access to PlayStation®Network and its variety of online content, can now stream live out-of-market regular season and select playoff game broadcasts in HD by downloading the NHL GameCenter application on the PS3 system. In addition to offering live hockey games, NHL GameCenter LIVE also allows subscribers to watch full-length and condensed replays of the current season games they missed (48 hours after they air, no blackouts) and relive NHL history with unlimited access to over 500 classic games from NHL Vault™.
PS3 users that do not have a subscription to NHL GameCenter LIVE will still have access to a wide range of NHL content through the NHL GameCenter application. Fans will have access to features such as post-game highlights, team schedules, standings, player stats and profiles, and full NHL scoreboard.
"PlayStation Network has become an innovative and all-in-one destination for PS3 users to enjoy a comprehensive, customizable on-demand entertainment experience and the addition of streaming NHL content continues the expansion of our library of movies and TV shows, original programming, music, live sports and access to social networks," said Peter Dille, senior vice president, marketing and PlayStation Network, SCEA. "Through our partnership with the NHL, we are giving our customers another important choice to access and stream the content they want, when and how they want it."
"In order to serve our fans, we are continuing to respond to the convergence of technology, media and consumer behavior," said Perry Cooper, NHL Senior Vice President of Digital Media. "With today's announcement, we are able to deliver NHL GameCenter LIVE and NHL Vault to Sony's extensive consumer base and significantly broaden the availability of our products to our fans across the world."
Customers that have an annual subscription to NHL GameCenter LIVE ($169 U.S.) and a free PlayStation Network account can download the NHL application for a one-time $9.99 (U.S.) fee and access it under the "Video" icon on the XMB™ (XrossMediaBar) menu. Additionally, PlayStation®Plus subscribers can download the NHL GameCenter application for free, continuing PlayStation's goal to deliver exclusive opportunities only made available to PlayStation Plus members.
Additional features of NHL GameCenter LIVE include:
* Select from home and away broadcasts available in HD to follow your favorite team(s), even while they are on the road
* Follow the action from around the league with game updates in the live scoreboard and plan what games to watch using the full season calendar
* Make the most of your viewing experience with live stats, standings, player bios, and post-game highlights for all 2010-11 games
* Pause, fast-forward, rewind or simply jump to key points of interest for 2010-11 games using event data indicators displayed on-screen
* Easily flip between live video and browsing other NHL GameCenter application features, while the video still plays in the background
Additional features of NHL Vault include:
* Classic Games: Relive historic hockey moments from classic games dating back to the 1960s
* Condensed Games: Catch up on games you missed with 10-12 minute extended highlights
* Game Archive: Watch full length replays of all games since the 2008-2009 season
About Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC.
Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC continues to redefine the entertainment lifestyle with its PlayStationÒ and PS one® game console, the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable) handheld entertainment system, the ground-breaking PlayStation®3 (PS3™) computer entertainment system and its online and network services the PlayStation®Network and PlayStation®Store. Recognized as the undisputed industry leader, Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC markets the PlayStation family of products and develops, publishes, markets and distributes software for the PS one, PlayStation 2, PSP and PS3 systems for the North American market. Based in Foster City, Calif., Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC serves as headquarters for all North American operations.
About the NHL
The National Hockey League, founded in 1917, is the second-oldest of the four major professional team sports leagues in North America. Today, the NHL consists of 30 Member Clubs, each reflecting the League's international makeup, with players from more than 20 countries represented on team rosters. According to a Simmons Market Research study, NHL fans are younger, more educated, more affluent, and access content through digital means more than any other major professional sport. The NHL entertains more than 250 million fans each season in-arena and through its partners in national television (VERSUS, NBC, TSN, CBC, RDS, RIS, ESPN America, ASN and NHL Network™) and radio (NHL Radio™, Sirius XM Satellite Radio and XM Canada). Through the NHL Foundation, the League's charitable arm, the NHL raises money and awareness for Hockey Fights Cancer™ and NHL Youth Development, and supports the charitable efforts of NHL players. For more information on the NHL, log on to NHL.com.