SBD/August 3, 2011/Media

EPL In Talks With Sony, EA About Developing Immersion Technology Viewing Experience

Sony exploring using "Super Wide" shot for EPL coverage
EPL officials are holding talks with Sony and EA “aimed at offering viewers the chance to experience ‘immersion technology’ and enjoy games being played potentially on the other side of the planet as if they were present in the stands,” according to Dominic Fifield of the GUARDIAN. Sony is “aiming to deliver ‘Super Wide,’ a panoramic shot based on footage delivered by several cameras.” Meanwhile, EA is “in the process of developing a 3D ‘graphical representation package’ which Sky hopes to use to improve its analysis” beginning with the ’12-13 season. EPL CEO Richard Scudamore said the technology would be “like an Avatar-type of thing available in your home.” Scudamore: “There’s immersion technology being developed right now where you can sit down with headphones and a screen in front of you, and reproduce the feeling of being in a stadium.” He added he thinks the technology is “only between two to five years from being readily available.” Scudamore: “It might seem a bit 'blue sky,' but it isn’t. It’ll certainly happen within my working life” (GUARDIAN, 8/3). He added, “3-D is coming along and there’ll soon be a technological development that will allow people across the world to have a much richer experience of watching football. Our efforts and energies are focused in that area, rather than the old-fashioned idea of flying around the world playing a 39th game.” In London, Matt Hughes notes Scudamore has acknowledged the idea of a 39th game "was a mistake and will not be revisited on his watch." He instead is seeking the technology as an opportunity to “drive into new markets” (LONDON TIMES, 8/3). However, fans are “unlikely to be able to experience everything the new technology will have to … offer -- with Scudamore keen to ensure grounds remain full to preserve the matchday atmosphere come Saturday afternoon” (ESPNSOCCERNET.com, 8/3).

GOING GLOBAL: In N.Y., Graham Ruthven notes Scudamore "has proposed two preseason tournaments organized by the league to be played on two continents as he attempts to capitalize fully on the global appeal of England's top teams." The EPL has "become not just a global interest but also a global brand," and "naturally, it now plans to take its product where demand is highest." The league "already lends its brand name to a preseason tournament -- the Barclay's Asia Trophy is in its fourth years" (NYTIMES.com, 8/3).
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