Rogers, Sportsnet, University of Waterloo team up for Hockey Hackathon

Rogers Communications, Sportsnet and the University of Waterloo have announced the launch of the Sportsnet Hockey Hack: Powered by Rogers 5G, a virtual hackathon offering students the opportunity to design applications to enhance the fan experience for Sportsnet viewers.

The students will be using Rogers’s 5G technology and data from the NHL’s Puck and Player Tracking system gathered during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, during the hackathon, as well as Intel technology, software tools and expertise, such as Intel Smart Edge and OpenVINO.

The task is to develop applications designed to create fun, immersive viewing experiences for Sportsnet and NHL fans, such as ones involving augmented reality and second-screen experiences.

“The next generation of sports fans will engage with and experience our broadcasts in ways we can’t even imagine today,” said Bart Yabsley, President of Sportsnet. “As Sportsnet continues to be a leader in sports technology innovation, we are excited to work with some of Canada’s top young minds at the University of Waterloo to discover how Rogers 5G technology can change the way millions of NHL fans watch and engage with the sport.”

Under the guidance of experts and mentors, each student team will work throughout the week to create a working prototype of their application, to be showcased to a panel of judges in hopes of earning prizes, job placement opportunities, and potential funding to transform the prototype into reality.

The panel of judges includes: Bart Yabsley (President, Sportsnet), Mina Chan (VP Video and Entertainment Services, Rogers Communications), Jonathan Kyle (Engineering Director, Intel), Grant Nodine (Senior Vice President, Technology, NHL), and Marisa Benjamin (Research Communications Officer, University of Waterloo).

“The University of Waterloo is very proud to be working with Rogers, Sportsnet, and the NHL to make the experience of watching a game on TV more interesting and interactive for hockey fans,” said Bridget Moloney, Managing Director of Waterloo’s Gateway for Enterprises to Discover Innovation (GEDI).

Rogers has also announced a 5G program dedicated to the research and development of sports and fan engagement, the program serving as part of its three-year partnership agreement with the University of Waterloo to advance 5G research in the Toronto-Waterloo tech corridor.

“5G is at our doorstep and it’s poised to change the world as we know it. Fan engagement is a very interesting use-case and one that will really benefit from the ultra-low latency of this next-generation technology,” said Jorge Fernandes, Chief Technology and Information Officer for Rogers Communications.

“Our work with the University of Waterloo focuses on bringing together our country’s brightest minds to advance Canada’s 5G roadmap and I’m excited to see what the students come up with at this hackathon.”

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