ESPN, Disney Branded Television and National Hockey League Skate Back to Big City in Second “NHL Big City Greens Classic”


ESPN, Disney Branded Television and National Hockey League Skate Back to Big City in Second “NHL Big City Greens Classic”

  • ESPN+, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney+ To Present Live Animated Presentation of Pittsburgh Penguins at Boston Bruins on March 9

  • Two Types of Tracking Technology to Create a More Dynamic Experience for Viewers

ESPN, Disney Branded Television and the National Hockey League (NHL®) are once again teaming up to bring fans the second “NHL Big City Greens Classic,” a live, animated NHL game telecast featuring the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Boston Bruins on March 9 at 3 p.m. ET. Last year’s “NHL Big City Greens Classic” featuring the Washington Capitals vs. New York Rangers was the first-of-its-kind live volumetric animation presentation.

The alternate presentation of the Penguins-Bruins game will feature real-time virtually recreated animation of NHL players and teams modeled after characters on Disney Channel’s hit animated series “Big City Greens.” ESPN+, Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney+ will present the live, animated telecast, while the traditional telecast will be available on ABC and ESPN+.

The alternate presentation will once again leverage tracking technology to recreate the action on the ice as it is happening while featuring “Big City Greens” characters skating alongside animated versions of the NHL players. Highlights for this year’s animated telecast:

  • The presentation will blend two types of tracking technologies – NHL EDGE positional data (NHL Puck and Player tracking) and Hawk-Eye Innovations optical tracking – to create more dynamic player and character movement to help fans better visualize detailed limb and stick movement and mannerisms.
  • With the blessing of captains Brad Marchand and Sidney Crosby, “Big City Greens’” very own Gramma will coach the Bruins, while her grandson, Cricket, will coach the Penguins.
  • The ESPN commentators calling the action on the animated telecast – Drew Carter, Kevin Weekes and Arda Öcal – will wear virtual reality headsets for motion capture, to immerse them in the animated environment of Times Circle.
  • “Big City Greens” voice talent will also be featured in the presentation, including creator and executive producer Chris Houghton (Cricket), Marieve Herington (Tilly), Zeno Robinson (Remy), Artemis Pebdani (Gramma) and creator and executive producer Shane Houghton (various characters).
  • The two intermissions of the game will feature an animated skills competition between the “Big City Greens” characters.

The real-time animation will be produced in association with ESPN Edge Innovation Center and NHL EDGE Innovation partner Beyond Sports. Outside the U.S., the “NHL Big City Greens Classic” will be available on Disney+ in select countries.

About Disney Channel’s “Big City Greens”

Created and executive produced by brothers Chris and Shane Houghton, Disney Branded Television’s animated comedy “Big City Greens” follows mischievous and optimistic 10-year-old Cricket Green, who moves from the country to the big city with his wildly out-of-place family — older sister Tilly, father Bill and Gramma Alice. The series is influenced by the Houghton’s childhood in the small rural town of St. Johns, Michigan, with locations and characters inspired by their real-life family members and townsfolk and their experiences upon departing rural farmland for college in big cities. The series’ creative team includes Michael Coughlin (“The Muppets”) as producer, Stephen Sandoval (“The Owl House”) as co-executive producer and Joachim Horsley (“Spirit Riding Free”) as composer. “Big City Greens” is a production of Disney Television Animation and carries a TV-Y7 parental guideline. Press materials are available at Follow @DisneyTVA on Instagram, TikTok and Threads for up-to-date news on #BigCityGreens.

About the NHL

The National Hockey League (NHL®), founded in 1917, consists of 32 Member Clubs. Each team roster reflects the League’s international makeup with players from more than 20 countries represented, all vying for the most cherished and historic trophy in professional sports – the Stanley Cup®. Every year, the NHL entertains more than 670 million fans in-arena and through its partners on national television and radio; more than 191 million followers – league, team and player accounts combined – across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube; and more than 100 million fans online at The League broadcasts games in more than 160 countries and territories through its rightsholders including ESPN, TNT Sports and NHL Network in the U.S.; Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada; Viaplay in the Nordics, Baltics, and Poland; YLE in Finland; Nova in Czech Republic and Slovakia; Sky Sports and ProSieben in Germany; MySports in Switzerland; and CCTV5+ in China; and reaches fans worldwide with games available to stream in every country. Fans are engaged across the League’s digital assets on mobile devices via the free NHL® App; across nine social media platforms; on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio™; and on, available in eight languages and featuring unprecedented access to player and team statistics as well as every regular-season and playoff game box score dating back to the League’s inception, powered by SAP. NHL Original Productions and NHL Studios produce compelling original programming featuring unprecedented access to players, coaches and League and team personnel for distribution across the NHL’s social and digital platforms.

The NHL is committed to building healthy and vibrant communities using the sport of hockey to celebrate fans of every race, color, religion, national origin, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status. The NHL’s Hockey Is For Everyone™ initiative reinforces that the official policy of the sport is one of inclusion on the ice, in locker rooms, boardrooms and stands. The NHL is expanding access and opportunity for people of all backgrounds and abilities to play hockey, fostering more inclusive environments and growing the game through a greater diversity of participants. To date, the NHL has invested more than $100 million in youth hockey and grassroots programs, with a commitment to invest an additional $5 million for diversity and inclusion programs over the next year.

About Disney Branded Television

Disney Branded Television encompasses the creative storytellers and production and content marketing teams responsible for Disney-branded television series, movies and other programming spanning live-action, animated and unscripted formats. The group fuels the Disney+ streaming platform and Disney Channel, Disney XD and Disney Junior linear networks with content geared toward kids, tweens, teens and families, with stories that are imaginative, aspirational and reflective of their world and experiences.

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NHL and the NHL Shield are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. NHL and NHL team marks are the property of the NHL and its teams. © NHL 2024.  All Rights Reserved.

Media Contacts:

ESPN: [email protected]

Disney Branded Television: [email protected]

Disney Networks: [email protected]

NHL: [email protected]

Disney+: [email protected]

Olivia Coryell

Based out of Austin, Texas, Olivia Coryell is a communications manager focusing on ESPN+, The Walt Disney Company's leading direct-to-consumer sports streaming service. In her time at ESPN, Coryell has worked on communications efforts for X Games, Brand Marketing, Corporate Citizenship, esports and more. Coryell is a proud graduate of Florida State University.
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