NHL GameCenter Returns With Reduced Rate, New Platform Availability

If the ratings numbers from this past weekend are any indication, hockey fans are thrilled to have their game back. Saturday’s season-opening two-game regional coverage on NBC scored a 2.0 overnight rating, marking the league’s highest overnight rating for a regular-season broadcast (excluding Winter Classics) in more than a decade.

With a frenetic, condensed 48-game regular season on tap, the next 3½ months promise to be loaded with hockey action across the country. To easily consume all of that live game content, the NHL last week announced that NHL GameCenter LIVE, its out-of-market, live-game streaming product produced by NeuLion, is available for a discounted price of $49.99 for the entire season.

Now that the league’s lengthy lockout has ended, NHL GameCenter returns with a bevy of new enhancements and is available for the first time on Xbox LIVE.

“We’ve been ready since the fall with this thing,” says Chris Wagner, EVP/co-founder at NeuLion. “It’s like having a Ferrari stuck in the garage that we can finally get onto the road.”

Ice Tracker allows fans to track stats and scores while keeping up with which players are on the ice at any given time.

Ice Tracker allows fans to track stats and scores while keeping up with which players are on the ice at any given time.

Videogame-console tweaks are some of the more exciting additions for fans. Customizable features on the brand-new Xbox LIVE and the redesigned PlayStation 3 platforms include selecting up to five favorite teams, whose featured content will be prominently displayed. Fans viewing games through gaming platforms can also can talk via headset much in the way gamers interact when playing multiplayer games online.

A robust second-screen application called Ice Tracker debuted this weekend. Live, up-to-the-second shift changes are tracked, along with real-time scores and stats. The app lets viewers know exactly what players are on the ice at all times.

Verizon Wireless tablet and 4G LTE smartphone customers will continue to get access to NHL GameCenter Premiumcontent as well as additional exclusive content for free. Exclusive free content for Verizon customers includes live streams of NBC network games, NBC’s Inside the Glass, and NHL Network’s NHL On the Fly.

GameCenter LIVE is slated to launch on Blackberry 10 devices later this season.