SBD/Issue 163/Sports Media

YES Network, DirecTV Unveil Details Of 3D Baseball Broadcasts

Yankees-Mariners Games On July 10-11 Will Be
First-Ever Baseball Games Produced Live In 3D

YES Network and DirecTV yesterday announced they will produce two Yankees telecasts in 3D on July 10-11. The games, scheduled against the Mariners at Safeco Field, will be the first-ever baseball games produced live in 3D. The contests will serve in part as a trial run for a planned 3D production of the July 13 All-Star Game in Anaheim and will air within a new 3D tier DirecTV will launch in June. A 3D feed will also be distributed by FSN Northwest, now owned by DirecTV, within its footprint. DirecTV Exec VP/Entertainment Eric Shanks said, "This is important to learn not only to produce baseball in 3D, but also how to make it part of day-to-day baseball productions. Reaching home-team markets is essential for us to find a way to do ongoing 3D productions." The 3D production for the Seattle and N.Y. markets, led by Pace and NEP, will be separate from the standard 2D production and employ an additional set of announcers, as has been the case with every other major sports effort to date in the enhanced format. The 3D production will involve six to eight cameras. Exact locations have yet to be determined, but will involve some combination of the high home and centerfield spots typical to baseball TV production, as well as additional, closer locations designed to take fuller advantage of the 3D format.

WHERE TO WATCH: YES is discussing extending the 3D availability to other distributors beyond DirecTV. Undetermined is what, if any, 3D availability of the games will be extended to other markets beyond N.Y. and Seattle, such as through the Extra Innings out-of-market package. That latter step would require MLB approval. Panasonic, already partnering with DirecTV on the satellite operator's forthcoming quartet of 3D channels, will join DirecTV as a presenting sponsor of the two Yankees 3D broadcasts. The channels for now will be offered as a free upgrade to DirecTV HD-tier subscribers, but will require a 3D-enabled television and 3D glasses. Public viewing events for the two games are additionally being determined, but will not involve Yankee Stadium as Sony, a key rival of Panasonic, holds a sponsorship with the club that includes extensive activation at the ballpark.

STARS ALIGNED: The effort extends a history by both YES and DirecTV on technological innovation, as the companies have been previously among the vanguard of other initiatives such as HD, VOD, interactive TV and in-market streaming. But Shanks and YES Network COO Ray Hopkins said the move is foremost designed as an experiment designed to learn more about the 3D format as opposed to necessarily being first in baseball. Numerous personnel involved in the 3D production in Seattle will also work on the All-Star Game effort. Shanks said, "There will at least be some experience when the All-Star game is broadcast in 3D, and it will help make the All-Star Game coverage perfect. Getting two games under the production teams is key."

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