The Stanley Cup in Augmented Reality


What’s it like to win the Stanley Cup? What is it like to spend your own day with the trophy during the summer to observe it from all angles, bring it to different places and lift it to take photos that you will keep for a lifetime?

Now you can find out. Whenever. Anywhere.

The NHL created Stanley Cup Experienceusing state-of-the-art technologies to create a near-perfect digital replica of the Cup.

With a computer, tablet or phone, you can scrutinize every engraved name and every scratch on the Stanley Cup. You can also go to Records.NHL.com to delve a little deeper into the history of the trophy.

With augmented reality on your tablet or phone, you can place the Cup wherever you want to take a photo or video. You can walk around the trophy, as if it were at your side. You can even peek inside the bowl at the top of the trophy.

With an augmented reality filter on your phone, you can lift the Cup in front of any background and post to Instagram, Facebook or TikTok. The only question that remains: does the superstition that you can’t touch the trophy if you haven’t won it carry over from reality to augmented reality?

“We have the most electrifying and unpredictable playoffs in any sport, so this is an opportunity for us to build the excitement around the playoffs and add to the conversation with something fun and exciting. ‘interactive,’” explained NHL Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Heidi Browning.

Augmented reality is an emerging technology that is still little used in professional sports. Browning said the NHL has been evaluating various options to incorporate augmented reality and social media filters, but hasn’t been happy with the experience so far. The NHL met with Dynamic Vision, a Calgary-based company that develops advanced, interactive 3D visualization and simulation technologies to deliver the best possible augmented reality experience.

The Cup is a challenge to photograph due to its curved, shimmering surface and thousands of small details. In the NHL offices in New York, we put it on a pedestal that rotated very slowly, then we adjusted the lighting until it was perfect.

Browning said it took 12 hours to photograph the Cup, then it took over 800 photos and over 200 hours to faithfully reproduce it in augmented reality.

The bottom of the Cup – the strips with all the names from the 1965-66 edition of the Montreal Canadiens to the 2020-21 edition of the Tampa Bay Lightning – is mostly stitched together photos. The bowl and its lower part have been reproduced with photos, but also by hand with digital artistic technology.

Look closely, and you will have the impression that each letter was truly engraved with a tool. You’ll see every quirky little detail, like the word « 1906 » appearing alone on the rim of the bowl. You will also see any errors, such as « 1980-81 NEW YORK ILANDERS ».

“No other company had shown such great interest in reproducing the Cup perfectly, and that’s why the result is so beautiful and impressive, when you have the chance to see it,” added Browning.

When you hover your cursor or finger over a team name, the team logo at that time appears. Click on the logo, then the blue bar above it, and you’ll be taken to Records.NHL.com, to a page about that team.

The NHL created this website as part of its centennial celebrations in 2017 and added hundreds of new pages about the Cup, champion teams and results.

“We’re still finding unique and innovative ways to use this site,” Browning said. We know our fans are perhaps the most knowledgeable and passionate about their sport. It allows them to put their knowledge to the test and satisfy their curiosity by delving into history and statistics. »

In augmented reality on your tablet or phone, the Cup is always in an upright position. With augmented reality filters on social media, the Cup is always above your head. Of course, there is an option for selfies. The filters are integrated into Instagram, Facebook and TikTok, and you can access them on each of the three platforms by visiting the @NHL account.

The NHL plans to update the digital replica of the Cup with new winners each year and hopes to expand the project to its other trophies in the future.

Browning said the NHL’s mission is to delight its fans and reach new ones. The League hopes this technology will bridge the two.

« We’re always trying to generate more engagement and conversations with our fans, especially the younger ones who are looking for innovation and want to show their support for a team in a unique way, » Browning said. The Augmented Reality Stanley Cup allows fans to place the Stanley Cup in any environment and share it with their friends. In addition, supporters can lift the Cup, which only champions can do. The filters are integrated into the platforms, which facilitates sharing with its subscribers. It’s easy to use, easy to share, and a lot of fun.

“We’re also giving all fans the chance to admire every intricate detail of the Cup, something some will never be able to do in real life. This is an almost perfect replica of the Cup. You can even see the scratches. It is therefore a rather exceptional experience. »

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