American television viewers may feel like they are on the pitch during World Cup 2010, as ESPN announced Tuesday that up to 25 matches from World Cup will be shown in 3D.[ad#as2]
The network’s first foray into 3D will come from World Cup on June 11 when Mexico plays South Africa.
ESPN’s announcement comes one month after FIFA announced it was teaming with Sony to produce World Cup matches in 3D. The US network is the first to commit to airing those 3D broadcasts from FIFA.
“This propels the football fan into a whole new viewing dimension and marks the dawning of a new era in the broadcasting of sport,” said FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke last month when announcing the Sony deal. “We are proud that the FIFA World Cup can serve as a platform for advancing technology and the viewing experience, and are truly fortunate to have Sony as a partner in this endeavour.”
ESPN has committed to a minimum of 85 live sporting events in 3D during its first year, with the channel going dark between those showings. In addition to the 25 World Cup matches, ESPN plans on airing NBA, university basketball and football as well as its Summer X Games in 3D.
”ESPN’s commitment to 3D is a win for fans and our business partners,” said Bodenheimer. “ESPN 3D marries great content with new technology to enhance the fan’s viewing experience and puts ESPN at the forefront of the next big advance for TV viewing.”
Thus far, no satellite or cable providers have indicated they will offer the channel, although announcements to that effect are expected as early as this week.
Viewers at home will obviously need 3D glasses, but most viewers will also need a 3D capable TV and likely an additional box.
In the arenas, the 3D production will be a separate operation, requiring different camera locations, an additional production crew and announcers.
As part of the deal with Sony, a 3D film will be created at the conclusion of World Cup 2010.