SBD/Issue 56/Sports Media

NFL's Live 3-D Debut Tonight Could Pave Way For Future Broadcasts

Third Dimension On-Tap For Raiders-Chargers
Tonight's Raiders-Chargers game on NFL Network marks the first time an NFL game will be broadcast live in 3-D, and it could be a "landmark in sports television history -- such as ABC's first Monday night prime-time football game -- and pave the way for home 3-D telecasts on enabled TVs, according to Bill Ordine of the Baltimore SUN. However, the 3-D broadcast also "could wind up a curious footnote." Eight digital 3-D cameras will "capture the action, and the signal will be transmitted to theaters where the game will be shown on 3-D enabled movie screens and similarly equipped big-screen monitors." The feed will be shown to invited audiences in N.Y., Boston and L.A. While details have yet to be released, 3-D industry execs said that "tickets for such a live telecast would be more expensive than a typical movie theater admission but would cost less than attending the game." Tonight's telecast is the "culmination of five years of talks" between the NFL and L.A.-based 3ality Digital, which is operating the broadcast. Former Ravens President David Modell serves as Chair of 3ality, and NFL Senior VP/Broadcasting & Media Operations Howard Katz said that he was "first approached by Modell's brother, John Modell, about an IMAX 3-D football movie about five years ago." While that did not happen, the "door-opener for tonight's telecast was a 3-D segment shot" at Super Bowl XXXVIII in '04. David Modell said that tonight's game comes with the "challenge of capturing a spontaneous event and allowing the audience to see it 'as they see everything else in their lives.'" Ordine notes the "soonest that the public might see the marriage of the NFL and 3-D could be a movie presentation" of Super Bowl XLIV in February 2010 (Baltimore SUN, 12/4).

RED CARPET APPEARANCES: Patriots Owner Robert Kraft, who serves as Chair of the NFL Broadcasting Committee and "will help shape how the league uses 3-D," is expected to attend the screening in Boston. In addition, Vikings Owner Zygi Wilf, Giants President & CEO John Mara, Jets Owner Woody Johnson and Redskins Owner Dan Snyder, who also sits on the league's Broadcasting Committee, are slated to attend the N.Y. screening (AP, 12/3).

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK: PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Mike Florio reported the league originally planned to show the game only in N.Y., L.A. and San Diego, which "made sense" because the NFL HQs are in N.Y., 3ality is based in L.A. and the game is being played in San Diego. The Raiders reportedly "felt a bit left out, since a screening of the game in the Bay Area would have been a great way for the organization to engender goodwill with current local sponsors, potential local sponsors, and folks who plunk down big money each year for luxury suites at home games." But Florio wrote the decision to allow the Patriots to screen the game at the Emerald City outside Boston "sent blood pressures in Oakland soaring." Florio: "How do the Raiders get shut out completely from demonstrating the new technology via a game involving their team while the Patriots -- who have no direct or indirect stake in the outcome -- secure a valuable marketing tool?" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 12/3).





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