NBC Sports Network – College Hockey Graphics Package Breakdown

NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) is the channel to watch College Hockey. While their “Friday Night Ice” programming far-too-often features Notre Dame, the broadcast itself is typically top quality — it’s a shame that NBC lacks the rights to televise the NCAA Tournament — ESPN holds the rights through 2024.

The channel that was previously known as Outdoor Life Network acquired rights to the NHL during the 2005 season. The station quickly rebranded themselves as Versus to better represent the content of their station. NBCSN’s OLN origins are still reflected by a variety of outdoor and hunting shows that still air regularly. On January 2nd, 2012, Versus was renamed to NBCSN following owner Comcast’s merger with NBCUniversal. January 6th marked the first NBCSN broadcast of College Hockey (several previous broadcasts on Versus notwithstanding). The January 6th tilt featured Dartmouth at none other than RPI, broadcast live from the Houston Field House. NBCSN originally featured a large variety of ECAC Hockey and Hockey East action, however the Eastern Conference broadcasts have been scaled back in favor of NCHC, B1G, and plenty of Notre Dame matches.

Note: This broadcast is from December 13th, 2013. The majority of this post was originally composed on January 4th, 2014, but went unpublished for who knows why reasons. Oh wait, I probably know why. I mean, I should know why. But I don’t. Here it is anyway.

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The game we’re taking a look at tonight is a non-conference match featuring the Colorado College Tigers (NCHC) at the Wisconsin Badgers (B1G) from the Kohl Center in Madison, WI. Per usual, I took these screensots using the LG TV app on my phone. The app is quite easy to use, however it uses very lossy JPEG compression, so apologies for the intense artifacts!

I was unable to determine exactly which font NBC uses (it’s probably something custom). What The Font and Da Font forums had no clues, however Identifont singled out Frank as a candidate. Frank’s letters look about right, however the numbers are certainly not a match. Could be a strange hybrid, or bespoke/custom solution. Like CBSSN, lowercase letters are verboten (except the the short ordinals in the scoreboard — odd). NBC (regrettably) uses a couple wall-of-text graphics which are nearly impossible to read.

Thematically, NBC is gorgeous and consistent. Silver/chrome rectangular frames are adorned with circular mechanical looking elements, which aid in the forward rotation transitions of many of the graphics. Most graphics have a particle/snow effect emanating from the bottom corners. Multiple lens flares march across horizontal chrome elements. While the basic building block is rectangular, some larger titles project the rectangle on the inside of a cylinder to achieve depth. The base NBCSN color is a deep blue with a tinge of gray, however team/organization colors are used whenever relevant. School logos are tightly integrated in to the graphics. Pre-rendered title cards and transitions are consistent with this theme.

While these breakdowns primarily center around graphics, I’m going to touch on some production points of interest as well. With that, let’s get started with the complete titles and graphics breakdown after the jump!

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The broadcast began with an external shot of the Kohl Center. It was not immediately identified with a graphic, however.

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Fans trickling through turnstyles is a nice touch. It’s good to see that the metal detectors of professional sport have yet to make their way to the college level.

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The opening graphic: note the geometric complexity. Faint CC and UW logos adorn the left and right edges. Only overall records are presented; conference records will be covered separately.

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Curiously, Dave Strader is initially introduced without his broadcast partner. Snow effect and lens flares abound. No mention of whether Dave is PBP or Color  (he’s PBP). Per the norm on this blog, Strader is mid-blink.

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B1G standings are used to frame tonight’s contest: Wisconsin is a mediocre team. I love the little team logos in their school-color-background rectangles. There’s a lot of empty space in this graphic. Note the conference color and logo being used in the title bar. A dark-ish yellow is used throughout the broadcast to draw your attention to key data, in this case Wisconsin. Unfortunate that the B1G only contains 6 teams; there’s clearly a lot more room available on this graphic.

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Things fill in a bit for the NCHC standings. Colorado College’s only wins are in conference play. Title bar takes on a slightly darker shade of blue for the NCHC.

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Dave Strader’s other half is introduced. I don’t like how the graphic is off center, but still not centered under Anson. Fully commit to your lopsidedness!

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Title card to a pre-baked storyline sequence highlighting a key player for the Badgers.

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I’m glad NBC includes class years on their player lower 3rds. I’m not as glad that they relegate it to a tiny dangler in ALL CAPS. I don’t think NBC had a collection of player headshots; I didn’t see one the entire broadcast. The “This Season” ascender looks tacked on and inconsistent. Kerdiles’ point total is left as an exercise to the viewer, and both PIM and +/- are ignored compltetely.

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Giant school logos are used in transitions.

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No graphic, but I thought it was a bit weird that Strader and Carter were disappearing into a sea of black.

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The Colorado College player introduction title uses a dark grey for Alexander’s number. I see what they were going for, but it doesn’t work, and you wouldn’t have noticed it unless I called it out.

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Career stats are great. Double dangler + ascender. Side note — I should probably refer to objects below titles as “descenders” to be consistent, but “dangler” is a more fun word.

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Mid-way through the “Friday Night Ice” transition.

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And here’s your Friday Night Ice title card, shown at the end of their opening sequence / intro video.

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On the other side of the intro video, we get a simple graphic reintroducing the game at hand. Teams, location, and branding are present. Apologies for the extreme MPEG-2 compression.

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This is the preceding graphic vanishing in a flash of NBC light.

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Not a great spot for an interview, but sometimes you have to make do. No other details are provided about Mike Eaves (until later in the broadcast).

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Mike Eaves is eaten alive by a giant, glossy, semi-transparent NBC logo (this often serves as the replay transition and is accompanied by a corny glass-ish sound effect).

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Mini-title card used when heading to commercial. Would be replace by a score lower third later in the broadcast as appropriate.

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NBCSN column boxes SD commercials. NBCSN also sports a lot of cheap SD commercials.

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Back from commercial, a beauty shot from ice level accompanied with the same info graphic from earlier.

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Goaltender introduction time! Compare Thorimbert’s statscard to Rumpel’s (below), note how the name cell is larger. Clearly some dynamic resizing going on.

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Rumpel’s graphic is narrower. Both goalie graphics include all the expected stats. Perhaps the only thing missing is shutouts.

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An early stoppage provides for some further information about our coaches. Or, one of them, at least. Line breaks are a bit weird, and I hate the ALL CAPS.  I like the addition of Owens’ record against Wisconsin.

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Here’s a look at your score lower 3rd, and apparently a student who has shaved their chest hair to look like Bucky (?!?). Wisconsin’s national rank and Colorado College’s length cause an odd alignment and some auto font condensing, which doesn’t look great. Probably should have simply expanded out the graphic.

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Coming back from commercial, this left-anchored graphic expands on the rivalry. Interesting use of a dangler-within-content (“185th Meeting”).

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Finally we learn a bit more about Mike Eaves.

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Simple graphic adoring a look at a previous matchup. I don’t understand why the edges of the frame are cut off of this and other similar graphics.

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Some team info presented in front of Mike Eaves.

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Another left-anchored graphic teasing the upcoming intermission show. A lot of crowd shots of the same small group of students were used throughout the broadcast. Presumably whatever was going on to the right of this camera operators wasn’t nearly as interesting.

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This broadcast occurred during the midst of pre-Sochi hype. Note the varying color temperatures of the whites. On the whole, it’s a nice insert graphic.

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Heading in to commercials following the first period, it’s a scoreless tie! It’s sort of weird that the score boxes are as wide as they are. They look like they could accommodate triple digit scores easily.

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Here we are transitioning in to the intermission report segment. A reminder that indeed, you are wathing NBCSN.

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Usually, the intermission report includes actual college hockey coverage. NBCSN generally does a good job presenting out-of-town scores and highlights.

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Check out the beautiful NBCSN studio, complete with giant projection and/or green screen. I actually like the brick walls in the background; gives a nice aesthetic. Wish everything was a little less blue.

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Some NHL highlights were shown, but we don’t care about the NHL on this blog (yet). This matchup caught my attention, however. What do you think the small text on this graphic says? I don’t know, my screen capture method renders these illegible.

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This was apparently an outdoor AHL game in Rochester at Frontier Field (home of the AAA Rochester Red Wings — that’s baseball in case the AAA wasn’t giveaway enough). Love the throwback jerseys, but I’m alarmed that the score bug uses default colors for each team. Step it up, SportsTime Ohio! What’a LEM? What’s a ROCH? Why does LEM include the name of their mascot (Monsters) but ROCH does not (Amerks)?

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The LEM logo is pretty awesome.

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There’s definitely something on the field, but it doesn’t look like there’s any semblance of an ice rink yet!

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Finally, some College Hockey highligts, as the segment promised! Love the AIC logo.

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Maine has the prettiest uniform/color scheme in college hockey. Both their home and away unis are absolutely gorgeous.

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AIC sucks. Also note the footer, RPI is/was ranked #18 (!). I do like that NBCSN routinely shows NCAAH (is that really what we call Div 1 Hockey?) in their crawl.

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The NBCSN out-of-town scores graphic is absolutely gorgeous. Their theme perfectly leverages the colors of each team to use as the background of the bar, and I’m a huge sucker for the overly glossly/reflective look. Side note — Alabama Huntsville is one of two College teams I have seen play in person that I have not seen RPI play against (the other is Lake Superior State University State, both of which played two games each at the Field House as part of the RPI Holiday Tournament).

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Heeeeeereeee’s tooooooo oooooold RPI! The score has suddenly grown to 1-1 since the score was shown in the crawl two screenshots ago.

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NBCSN retracted the crawl, but neglected to extend the commercials back to full height. Weird.

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I do enjoy these forced 3D perspective graphics. It appears there’s some faint text behind the title bar, “PERIOD 1” perhaps? The graphic itself relays all the typically important information other than penalties or PP stats. I always view the “Scoring Chances” “stat” with a lot of skepticism.

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Column boxed AND letter boxed AND standard definition. Nice.

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Have I mentioned that I dislike ALL CAPS? This is probably the least readable graphic I’ve ever reviewed. What a mess.

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Interesting blurred backdrop. I like the use of the NHL logo.

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Here’s the Colorado replay transition.

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Finally, 6:18 into the 2nd, we get to know who is officiating the game. I do like the NCAA based blue background color.

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Nice penalty box shot, and a quick look at NBCSN’s powerplay scorebug treatment. Announcing the penalty is always helpful to the viewer as well, but there’s a ton of negative space in this graphic. Why is there a video monitor in the penalty box?

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This is a good looking PP/PK graphic. Note that it still fits within 4:3 title safe, which is a bit odd in this day-and-age. School colors are not overdone here — the black-red fade behind the Wisconsin “W” is very nice looking, as is the red highlight/lens flare.

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Our first goal of the night goes to Joseph Labate!

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Pre-baked transition/intro to a Wisconsin-centric segment.

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NBCSN uses this weird rolodex-inspired transition to hype upcoming shows (and to remind the viewer that yes, you are still watching NBCSN).

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It’s a Colorado College shortie! Cue the penalty box reaction shot! The guy on the right looks bored out of his mind. What is his role? The penalty box official is clearly on the left. This guy appears to have a press pass and a broadcast headset.

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I’m torn on this graphic. I like the stat in-and-of-itself, but the dangler is a bit weird. It’s also impressive to me that this fact was readily available (pre-baked, even?)

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Despite CoCo’s shortie, things were quickly back in Bucky’s favor. One Nic Kerdiles scored his 8th goal of the season at 19:58.9. Including the extra tenths-of-a-second would make this feat that much more impressive.

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Heading in to the second, this was the graphic used to introduce the highlights from the 2nd period.

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People cover/care about D1 soccer? Guess I  shouldn’t really mention it, given the subject matter. WAIT. NO. The only reason this was shown is because Notre Dame is involved. Typical NBCSN…

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There are a ton of graphical building blocks involved in this title. There’s a tabular structure, and a secondary logo (which looks really good).

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Things seem to have gotten out-of-hand in the AIC Maine game. As I mentioned before, AIC is not the best.

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Woohoo, even more UI elements! Lots of things in play here — the sub-title is presented as a dangler, a generic logo is used, and each team’s logo enjoys its own personal logo box. Not sure why NBCSN is bothering to show the Notre Dame / UAH game…

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More stats! This time, we get power play stats instead of “Scoring Chances”, and the shots are highlighted. 45 shots through two sure seems like a lot… homer scorekeeper?

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The Wisconsin / Colorado College rivalry has a rich history…

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… a history long enough to involve two newspaper clippings.

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Here’s another terrible ALL CAPS graphic. I do like that it is presented over a nice beauty shot. Not entirely sure why it is anchored to a huge left pillar, but it is.

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Here’s a nice fun stat for CoCo! The coach is a bit underexposed, and why aren’t there fans seated behind the away bench?

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Here’s another look at the Rolodex inspired flipboard, hyping next week’s matchup. GUESS WHO IS INVOLVED? You guessed Notre Dame, right? Of course you did. And of course they’re involved.

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Uh, didn’t the start-of-the-second-period stats say Wisconsin led shots 45-27? Perhaps that shot was “pucks struck hard in the general direction of the goal” rather than the generally accepted hockey definition?

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Nice dangler here, good job by the graphics op to have this stat handy.

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With Wisconsin ahead by two goals, this graphic seemingly drives a nail in the coffin.

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There are six ECAC teams in this top 20. Phenomenal. Hard to believe RPI was ever ranked last season (2013-14). RPI would finish the season below .500. Clarkson fell apart down the stretch as well. In the mean time, though, WOOHOO, #18! OOOOONE Minute, and Clarkson still sucks. Sweeeet Caroline, Union sucks, U suck, U suck, U suck!

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Matching minors, leading to a gret two-up shot.

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Now that’s a shirt.

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Things seem to be getting out of hand.

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Not entirely sure why we’re treated to a Wisconsin powerplay graphic given the 5-on-3 situation. Good stats, regardless.

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Wisconsin still has quite a lot of 5-on-3 to kill, but the stats show they have a decent PK. Colorado, on the other hand…

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This was one of the weirder things I’ve ever seen in a college hockey broadcast. Two facemasks became stuck together. Just a little bit awkward for the players.

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The interlocking metal challenged the Wisconsin equipment manager, but eventually it was determined that the facemasks did in fact not actually fuse together. This could all have been avoided if everyone wore fishbowls!

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Wisconsin did a mighty impressive job killing of the extended 5-on-3 opportunity. Great job, Rumpel!

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Wisconsin tacked on an Empty Netter for good measure. The stick salute is one of my favorite college traditions.

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Your victor, the Wisconsin Badgers.

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3 Responses to “NBC Sports Network – College Hockey Graphics Package Breakdown”

  1. Nameless Says:

    In the AHL introduction between Lake Erie and Rochester, you posted this message:

    “What do you think the small text on this graphic says? I don’t know, my screen capture method renders these illegible.”

    Having had to zoom in using my camera phone on the block of text, it reads “It takes 45 minutes for a Zamboni to prep the ice before a game” over and over, but not quite like how it reads. It looks more like gibberish because the words all run into each other. This set of small text gibberish is the same on both sides and on all introductory graphics.

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