In an agreement announced at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show, Sony has signed on to be an official sponsor of ESPN’s new 3D network. Additionally, Sony will be the exclusive 3D sponsor of the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, 13 regular season college football games, and Summer X Games, where ESPN will utilize Sony professional HD cameras. The announcement was made during Sony’s annual CES press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
“ESPN and Sony have a long history together, and we share a passion for innovation and bringing customers cutting-edge products and content, which this union demonstrates,” said Sean Bratches, executive vice president, Sales and Marketing, ESPN. “The launch of ESPN 3D is a great way to offer our advertisers unique marketing opportunities, and due to Sony’s continued leadership with 3D technology, this collaboration made perfect sense.”
On Tuesday, January 5, ESPN announced it will launch ESPN 3D in June 2010. ESPN 3D will showcase a minimum of 85 live sporting events in 3D during its first year beginning with the first 2010 FIFA World Cup match on June 11 featuring South Africa vs. Mexico. Other events to be produced in 3D include up to 25 2010 FIFA World Cup matches, Summer X Games, college basketball, NBA basketball, college football and basketball which will include the BCS National Championship game in Glendale, AZ on January 7, 2011. Events televised on ESPN 3D will utilize Sony professional HD cameras. Additional events will be announced at a later date.
“With America’s passion for sports, ESPN is a great partner to deliver the 3D sports experience in consumers’ homes,” said Michael Fasulo, chief marketing officer Sony Electronics Inc. “Sony is excited to partner with ESPN to deliver sports in 3D in 2010.”
Sony HD cameras have been the choice for most commercially successful 3D motion pictures and live sports events produced to date. Leading 3D production companies utilize Sony HD cameras and HD production systems to cover many of their 3D projects including live sports events produced with ESPN and other networks. Sony plans to install approx 11,000 of its 4K digital cinema projection systems in the US over the next few years, with about 3000 of those systems equipped for 3D. Today Sony launched a line of 3D Full HD 1080P high frame rate BRAVIA televisions.
ESPN has been testing 3D for more than two years. Last fall, ESPN presented the University of Southern California vs. Ohio State University college football game in 3D. The game was shown in select theaters as well as to 6,000 fans at the Galen Center on USC’s campus, receiving positive feedback from both the fans and media in attendance. ESPN has developed best practices for utilizing the technology in live-game applications which have provided ESPN the ability to streamline workflow operations, adjust 3D camera positioning, test transmission and gauge fan reaction to a 3D telecast versus a traditional telecast.