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Behind the Scenes: Optimizing Encoding and Operations with the NHL® 

Camera man films an NHL hockey game.

In the dynamic world of professional sports broadcasting, staying ahead of the digital curve can make all the difference.  

The National Hockey League (NHL) has strategically embraced technological advancements to not only enhance the game, but also elevate operational efficiency. Partnering with Presidio as an Official Technology Innovation Partner, the NHL has continued to enhance game operations, streaming capabilities, and the fan experience. 

One of these advancements is the NHL Virtual Technical Operations Center (VTOC). 

If you look at the importance of what VTOC is to the National Hockey League, it is to ensure that the complexities of broadcasting can be reduced to a single pane of glass. NHL VTOC simplifies the NHL’s streaming capabilities and centralizes operations to ensure optimal streaming performance.  

What is “VTOC”: Redefining Broadcasting Operations 

At its core, VTOC is unifying encoding operations with a single application to manage the various feeds, infrastructure, and automation. It encompasses both a traditional managed services operation as well as an advanced orchestration platform for all live video encoding and distribution over the course of a 1300+ game NHL season.  

During any given day, up to 16 games can be simultaneously streaming. The sheer amount of games happening at once makes laying the foundation for uninterrupted broadcasting a challenge. With the nature of streaming today, it is pivotal that before the first game begins, all systems are online, and broadcasters have access to the feeds they need.  

More than just streaming games, VTOC represents the NHL’s venture into centralizing and optimizing its encoding and distribution operations. This digital transformation initiative has streamlined a complex web of technologies involved in professional sports broadcasting, from encoding and transmitting, to ensuring reliability and performance.  

The centralization of operations has not only improved visibility, but has also facilitated failover strategies, making critical differences during live broadcasts. Picture seamlessly switching between data centers amid a Stanley Cup Final game to avoid downtime – this is the power of VTOC. 

From the internal stakeholders to viewers at home, NHL VTOC will continue to evolve to meet the streaming needs of hockey lovers everywhere.  

Helping Shape the Future of Hockey Through Tech 

The NHL’s technological modernization serves as a brilliant example of how strategic technology investments can redefine an entire industry. In the ever-evolving landscape of digital technology, the NHL’s journey showcases the incredible potential of innovation in enhancing the sports and entertainment media experience, and beyond. 

NHL and the NHL Shield are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. © NHL 2024. All Rights Reserved.  


Allec Brust

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