The Famous Group Breaks the NHL’s Mixed-Reality Ice With Colorado Avalanche, Chipotle, and Turner Sports

The Famous Group, Colorado Avalanche, Chipotle and Turner Sports teamed up to break the ice like never before in the opener of the second round of the Avs’ Stanley Cup Playoff Series against the St. Louis Blues at Ball Arena in Denver on Tuesday . The game featured the NHL’s first use of mixed reality technology for television viewers, when a Chipotle-branded Zamboni launched a giant burrito bowl and fork into the center of the rink, and a giant hockey glove then broke through the ice and the bowl seized. and dives back under the ice.

The mixed reality ad, which featured the message “Real Food for Real Athletes,” ended with the hockey glove reappearing, clawing hungrily for the fork, and finally holding it up in victory. The virtual sponsorship element could be seen by fans in the arena on the video panel suspended in the center and was integrated into TNT’s live broadcast of the game.

The Famous Group rendered the live MR element in real time using a mix of Unreal Engine, Pixotope and SideFX Houdini.

Tuesday’s first-ever use of mixed reality on NHL ice follows Famous Group’s work with the Carolina Panthers and the Houston Texans last season, as well the Baltimore Ravens in 2019. The Famous Group has also used Unreal Engine on a variety of other mixed reality projects, including The Players Championship, Super Bowl LVI, the NBA All-Star Game 2022, and Nickelodeon’s NFL Playoff game.

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