Rogers Sportsnet gets in the interactive game

The sportscaster is teaming up with LiveHive Systems for Game in the Game, which gets fans more actively involved in hockey.

Rogers Sportsnet has signed a two-year agreement with LiveHive Systems, a software company that will make NanoGaming part of the network’s regional NHL games. NanoGaming allows audiences to actively participate in the TV program they’re watching by taking part in online games and quizzes as it airs. ‘People are changing the way they watch television,’ Laura Martin, director of marketing at LiveHive, tells MiC. ‘About 50% of sports fans actually have another screen open while they’re watching their sports on TV.’

With Sportsnet’s Game in the Game, viewers are able to log on to to play along with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers, Calgary Flames or Ottawa Senators. They can make predictions about the game they’re watching, answer trivia questions, take part in polls and chat with other players. Participants can rack up points to win one of two LCD TVs – one for the highest score over the course of the season and one for the highest score in a single game.

‘It’s a way to engage the audience and get them to stay with the show longer,’ David Ballingall, VP marketing and GM of, tells MiC. ‘We know that people who play the game are more likely to come back and watch the next game.’ While the game is being promoted heavily through TV, radio, online and outbound alerts, Ballingall expects the real power will be viral – buddies encouraging each other to get in the game.

The NanoGame program also offers advertisers new sponsorship opportunities. The site can accommodate a variety of online ads, and advertisers could even throw questions about their brand into the game. Each game will be exclusively sponsored by one advertiser, giving them a captive audience.

During Game in the Game‘s debut with Sunday night’s Oilers game on Sportsnet West, participants were online for an average of 63 minutes while the game aired. ‘There’s almost a fear on the part of the game player that you don’t want to leave the game, because you’re going to miss questions and lose your standing,’ Ballingall explains.