Sky 3D and ESPN exploring further opportunities to bring more 3D sports to fans
ESPN and Sky have added to their 3D content syndication relationship with the announcement that this year's ESPN 3D production of the FA Cup Final, between Manchester City and Stoke City, will be shown live in 3D on Sky 3D, Europe's first dedicated 3D TV channel.
ESPN's 3D coverage of the Final – between 2.30pm and 6.30pm - will be part of a multi-faceted FA Cup Final day that also includes 12 hours of FA Cup programming on ESPN and ESPN HD. Like the ESPN and ESPN HD coverage, ESPN's 3D coverage on Sky 3D will be commercial-free from 2:30 until after the trophy presentation.
Sky World subscribers with a Sky
HD box and a 3D TV will be able to watch the 2011 FA Cup Final in 3D. It will also be available in the more than 1,500 Sky 3D pubs nationwide.
The 3D sports syndication agreement follows collaboration between ESPN 3D and Sky 3D to deliver coverage of ESPN's Winter X Games 15 in February. The two companies will continue to explore additional ESPN 3D events that can be delivered to Sky 3D customers, with further announcements due shortly.
ESPN 3D coverage of this year's FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium will be directed and designed by ESPN, with ESPN punditry, commentary, studio and on-screen graphics.
“ESPN is extremely proud to have been at the forefront of the development of 3D sports coverage, and are very excited to work with other companies like Sky that are leading the way as well,” said Murray Barnett, vice president , ESPN Media Distribution. “Sports have proven to be a driver for technology and innovation repeatedly through the years, and that continues today with 3D TV. Bringing ESPN 3D's production of great events like the FA Cup Final the Winter X Games and more to fans on Sky 3D will help showcase the new dimension that technology has made possible.”
John Cassy, Channel Director, Sky 3D added “Sky's 3D story continues at pace. Working with high quality channel partners such as ESPN means that we can continue to extend the choice of high quality 3D content for customers. With Sky Sports continuing to break new ground, and with the addition of the best of EPSN's live 3D coverage, Sky's customers are enjoying the richest 3D experience available.”
The 3D output collaboration between Sky and ESPN reflects the commitment and leadership positions that both companies have established in 3D sports coverage around the world.
Since Sky 3D's launch in April 2010, Sky Sports has already produced more than 100 live sports broadcasts for the channel, spanning Barclays Premier League, UEFA Champions League and international football, Aviva Premiership, Heineken Cup and international rugby, Ryder Cup and Masters golf, the PDC Darts World Championship, international cricket, and US Open tennis.
ESPN announced ESPN 3D – its 3D sports initiative – in January 2010, and launched a dedicated ESPN 3D network in the U.S. in June 2010. In January 2011 it announced that ESPN 3D would begin televising 3D sports all day, every day. It has already covered a wide variety of sports, including NFL American football, Major League Baseball, NBA basketball, the 2010 FIFA World Cup, X Games and Winter X Games, and more.
Next month's UEFA Champion's League final at Wembley Stadium will also be available live on Sky 3D, with Sky Sports the host broadcaster for the season's finale. This year's Carling Cup Final was the first domestic Cup Final to be shown live in 3D.
Further details on additional EPSN 3D content syndication will be announced in due course.
About Sky 3D
Sky launched Sky 3D, Europe's first domestic 3D channel to millions of Sky homes on Friday 1 October 2010 with an exciting line-up of movies, live sport and further shows spanning entertainment and the arts. All Sky
HD viewers with a 3D TV are able to receive Sky 3D, as no set-top box upgrade is required. At no extra charge, customers who subscribe to Sky's top channel and HD pack can receive access to a wide range of 3D movies, entertainment and sports. Sky 3D is now available in more than 1500 pubs and clubs across the UK and Ireland following the world's first commercial launch in April 2010. Eight different sports have been broadcast in 3D to date; football, boxing, rugby union, cricket, rugby league, golf, tennis and darts. Sky 3D is compatible with all of the 3D TVs being introduced by Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic and works with both ‘active' and ‘passive' 3D formats.
About ESPN 3D
ESPN was the first to announce an exclusive 3D sports network in January 2010 which was the culmination of more than three years of testing 3D television. In 2010, ESPN produced 3D sports telecasts in the US, including: college football and basketball, the State Farm Home Run Derby, the Masters, the Harlem Globetrotters game. ESPN 3D produced the USC vs. Ohio State college football game in September 2009 which became the starting point for the network. ESPN has developed best practices for utilizing the technology in live game applications which have provided the ability to streamline workflow operations, adjust 3D camera positioning, perform transmission tests and gauge fan reaction to a 3D telecast versus a traditional telecast. In addition, ESPN utilizes cutting-edge technology located at the ESPN Innovation Lab in Orlando at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World to continue to develop innovative production enhancements. ESPN 3D is available in the United States to approximately 62.5 million households and has carriage agreements with AT&T U-Verse, Comcast, DIRECTV and Time Warner Cable. It will launch in 2011 on Verizon FiOS TV. Sony was named the first official sponsor of the network in January 2010.