SBJ/Nov. 1, 2010/This Week's Issue

Versus’ first 3-D game will be Ducks football

Versus will produce its first 3-D telecast Nov. 13 when Oregon plays Cal.

The Comcast-owned network is wrapping up negotiations with all the major distributors and expects to have agreements in place with the ones that offer 3-D, such as Comcast, DirecTV, Verizon and AT&T. As with other 3-D telecasts, Versus will produce two games simultaneously: One will be the game production that goes to Versus’ standard definition and HD channels. The other will be the 3-D telecast that will have its own cameras, production truck, directors and talent.

“We’ve had our eye on 3-D technology since it came out,” said Marc Fein, Versus’ executive vice president of programming, production and business operations. “If done properly, it can be a cool thing and really enhance the viewer experience.”

This will be Versus’ only 3-D telecast of the year. Fein said the network expects to roll out more productions next year, but he did not identify the properties that were most likely to get the enhanced treatment. Versus has deals with the NHL, PBR, IRL and UFC.

Network executives identified the Oregon-Cal game as the target for the 3-D debut because college football generally rates well for the network and Oregon, which was atop the AP’s college football poll at deadline, has a strong team, leading to interest in the game.

Plus, with the Pac-10’s media rights coming up next year, it’s in Versus’ interest to curry favor with the conference. A combined Comcast-NBC is expected to bid on those rights.

Versus obtained this game through a sublicense from Fox.

Versus executives plan to monitor message boards and Twitter to gauge reaction to the 3-D telecast. The network also plans to have a viewing station set up at the game.

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