AHL announces deal with HockeyTech to broadcast 2018-19 season

Bye bye, Neulion.

The AHL has listened to the cries of their fans about the lack of quality that is Neulion and have announced a partnership with HockeyTech to broadcast the second-best ice hockey league in North America. They are branding it AHLTV.

The pricing is more affordable, too, with prices starting at $6.99 for a daily all-access plan, to $79.99 for all-access all season. This is MUCH better than previous prices.

From the official press release:

“HockeyTech is proud to launch AHLTV in a true partnership with the American Hockey League,” said HockeyTech founder and CEO Stu Siegel. “Using the most advanced, cutting-edge digital technologies, AHL fans will have the most innovative multimedia hockey viewing experience available worldwide.”

And from the press release to the media, something that I think hockey fans will love more than anything else listed above:

In addition to the standard produced video feeds, AHLTV games will also feature HockeyTech’s ViPr system of video production, with every arena outfitted with a camera that will capture the entire sheet of ice in one high-definition, undistorted, panoramic view that lets mobile viewers control what they see by pinching, zooming and tilting their phone.

From an article in TV Technology back in May, HockeyTV (which is a division of HockeyTech) had already been planning to work with the Hershey Bears for the upcoming 2018-19 season. In the article, HockeyTV states that they will be bringing hardware capable of reliably streaming 1080i HD video (which is substantially better than the 720p NeuLion was able to offer).

The TV Technology also out-lined a fast series of upgrades to camera quality and distribution. Seeing at the league is trying optimize mobile viewing and multi-angle streaming, this update should come as a much-needed welcome.

Neulion had been the streaming AHL regular season and playoff games for a decade, starting in the 2008-09 season, but the frankly as the years have gone on, the product feels like it’s still stuck in 2008.

The following is an exerpt from the 2008 article by AHL.com that outlined the new streaming service.

Individual games are available for $6 each, and a team season pass is just $140 for 80 regular-season broadcasts (all prices US). Calder Cup Playoff games and the annual AHL All-Star Classic will also be available. NeuLion and the AHL plan to offer additional service features such as game highlights, player interviews and features, video on demand and other behind-the-scenes video in the near future.

Since that time, the total games played by a team in the AHL, for example the Syracuse Crunch, has gone down to 73 dates, but the price has also gone up to $299.99 in nine years! Inflation only accounts for about $23 meaning the cost has essentially doubled from it’s initial $140 price tag. For comparison, the NHL charges their fans $140 for a full season of the best hockey in the world. They’re not perfect, but at least the games are generally in HD.

I will say, the previews look a lot better than what a BlackBerry can do.