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World Cup of Hockey jerseys to feature advertisements

August 17, 2016

TORONTO (AP) — Ads on jerseys will be among the features at the upcoming World Cup of Hockey.

The NHL and NHLPA announced the ventures — including puck and player tracking technology and interactive boards — on Wednesday and revealed plans for fan initiatives in Toronto throughout the two-week event that starts next month.

“This tournament gives us an opportunity to experiment with things, to see if they work, to see if it can be done in a fashion which is tasteful,” NHLPA executive director Don Fehr said.

Puck and player tracking technology will include elements like puck speed, player speed and distance travelled, all aimed at boosting the viewing experience on game broadcasts.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman described the use of such technology at the World Cup as a testing ground for potential use during the regular season. The league used the technology at last season’s All-Star game.

“If you’re a fan, you can have more and more insights to the game,” Bettman said. “And if you’re a casual fan — or not a fan at all — this may give you another reason to connect even more with the game.”

SAP was announced as the sponsor advertising on game sweaters, though Bettman said it was not a sign of things to come for the NHL. The NBA recently announced that it would begin advertising on its jerseys starting in the 2017-18 season.

“Nobody should say that that means the next step is to put them on NHL jerseys,” Bettman said. “I am a believer in the history, tradition and exactly how special NHL sweaters are. And while these World Cup jerseys have been designed from scratch and are spectacular, it’s not necessarily the same as the NHL sweaters.”

Wednesday’s announcement was a testimony to the enormous dollars the NHL and NHLPA will pull in as a result of the World Cup.

In addition to a roster of corporate sponsors, digitally enhanced dasher boards will offer expanded opportunity for ads during game action. The league also will host to a 10-day fan village in Toronto’s historic Distillery District.

Bettman said 90 percent of the tickets had been sold for the World Cup, with a limited number of individual game tickets up for sale beginning on Thursday. He added that there has been nothing yet decided on future World Cup events. But the hope was to stage the tournament on a regular basis, perhaps every four years.

The World Cup of Hockey will take place from Sept. 17 to Oct. 1 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.