Smart puck data changes sports media profoundly – How does a hockey studio host use Wisehockey data in everyday work?

”In only a few years, smart puck data has introduced completely new perspectives on ice hockey. A lot has happened already, but I believe that the greatest breakthroughs and transformations accelerated by technology are still waiting for us. I am eager to be a part of these developments,” envisions Tuomas Nyholm, award-winning sports journalist and studio host who dived deep into fully automated real-time ice hockey analytics.

Tuomas Nyholm’s perspective on smart puck data comes from the TV and media world where he has worked for years. Nyholm is a pioneer of harnessing fully automated real-time ice hockey statistics for sports broadcasts in the Telia company. He has made it a habit to include smart puck statistics in his preparation and live broadcasts.

“I use smart puck data practically in all my studio broadcasts in one way or another,” Nyholm says.

Nyholm emphasizes two interesting game aspects: an individual’s performance and team-level efficiency.

“I’m the most interested in combining different data into material that displays the game from a completely new point of view,” Nyholm describes his method.

Nyholm has to follow ice hockey very closely because of his line of profession.

“But most of all I enjoy the game itself. Backgrounds, stories, people, and turns of events create a unique arc for each season, but everything comes down to the rink.”

How do real-time analytics transform the game?

Smart puck data transforms the way a fan views the game with an abundance of new on-screen information. Tuomas Nyholm remarks that real-time data electrifies the viewing experience in a completely new way. This creates new possibilities for analyzing different aspects of the game such as special events and goalkeepers’ actions.

“There are two main options. Real-time data during the game, and the material surrounding the game event,” Nyholm summarizes.

“Smart puck data brings completely new depth to interpreting and exploring the game. I believe there will be a lot of progress in that. It is also interesting to see what decisions the Finnish Hockey League will make regarding Wisehockey. They have this incredible opportunity to introduce unique material to the audience, and smart puck data is indeed the most logical path to produce new content,” he continues.

As a sports commentator, Nyholm is interested in how real-time analytics shows in the game itself.

“I often wonder how much the facts and trends that smart puck data reveal affect players’ and teams’ performance, and where it manifests. I believe that we will see a lot of growth in this area.”

What does Wisehockey add to sports broadcasts?

Confirmation of presumptions – and, likewise, myth-busting,” Nyholm states.

Some of Wisehockey’s newest features such as the xG statistic for shots allow an ice hockey expert to introduce and explain profound game analysis to viewers. Puck control and puck passing statistics are other examples of data that Nyholm often uses in the studio.

“As far as I understand, many studio commentators use smart puck data to assist and enrich their work,” Nyholm describes the current convention in Finnish ice hockey broadcasts.

However, Nyholm’s main goal is not digitalization itself. After all, the purpose of new technology is to provide support and ideas for media and journalism professionals.

“As a studio host, smart puck data offers me a lot of information about players and teams. Based on that I can think up great questions for sports experts,” Nyholm concludes.

New data adds value – when you do it right

Productions, studio broadcasts and graphics are constantly evolving. However, you rarely need to introduce something to viewers slowly, beginning from the very fundamentals.

Smart puck data in itself introduce to viewers many completely new elements, which means that you need to take your time.

“This is both an opportunity and a real challenge,” Nyholm says.

He reminds that you cannot simply show brand new sector data or other new graphics to viewers without explaining where the data comes from, what it consists of, and what it means.

“But when we wrap the information into a nice package and serve it in a simple, easy-to-understand way, we gain undeniable added value.”

Tuomas Nyholm introduces goal scoring flow and xG statistics in Telia broadcast

People, phenomena and social media shape new sports journalism

Tuomas Nyholm has observed that media put more and more emphasis on people and phenomena. Storytelling methods have expanded, and visionary, commentarial content has made a special breakthrough. Sports journalists may find themselves in the position of an expert who has to provide in-depth commentary of the sport.

Another huge change is the growth of social media. Media are closer to athletes’ daily life than ever before.

“Even one’s breakfast can be news if the photos are posted online. This gives us a remarkably wider picture of an athlete as an individual person in comparison with just a performing player,” Nyholm ponders.

“The keywords of 2010s were storytelling, vision and social media.”

Even though there is a massive amount of different content around ice hockey, the game itself continues to receive a great deal of attention. According to Nyholm, Finnish ice hockey enthusiasts can access quite profound content about tactical and strategic aspects of the game.

“Smart puck data allows you to view things in the game that are difficult to see with the naked eye, especially when we are talking about big data masses such as season-long progress,” Nyholm explains.

Smart puck data is the future of sports broadcasting and entertainment

Nyholm can see many opportunities for real-time sports analytics in TV broadcasts and other sports entertainment and services. He reminds that viewers are already used to following the game from several sources, such as the live arena and a mobile app, simultaneously: “How will the second screen develop further?”

Betting and gamification of sports events with solutions such as making viewers play mobile games, enriching the arena experience, and adding analytics-lead content to different displays are only some of the new options that digitalization offers. Nyholm believes that different betting services will take the next big step. He is also excited to see how new analytics data will be utilized for augmented reality.

”The game itself will always be the most important, so the product itself remains at the core, but will we one day have smart puck data lead streaming? How big a role will live data play, and how much will it shape productions? Will we create completely new content around smart puck data?” Nyholm wonders.

One thing is for sure: fully automated real-time data is here to stay.

“It is very likely that there will be more and better content based on smart puck data in the following years. I personally hope that we continue on this path, for there may be amazing things ahead. But it takes a lot of work from all involved,” Nyholm says.

What the industry needs is clear to him.

“You need to be able to make figures and data into high-quality media content, and for this we need two things – expertise and vision.”

Read more about Wisehockey’s real-time features that enrich the live sports experience!


We gathered some advanced xG statistics from the 2022–23 hockey season.

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