NFL in 3D

The NFL is going to debut its 3-D technology next week.

With sports fans still getting used to their high-definition television sets, the National Football League is already thinking ahead to the next potential upgrade: 3-D.

Next week, a game between the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders will be broadcast live in 3-D to theaters in Los Angeles, New York and Boston. It is a preliminary step on what is likely a long road to any regular 3-D broadcasts of football games.

The idea is a “proof of concept,” says Howard Katz, NFL senior vice president of broadcasting and media operations. “We want to demonstrate this and let people get excited about it and see what the future holds.”

The several hundred guests at the three participating theaters Dec. 4 will include representatives from the NFL’s broadcasting partners and from consumer-electronics companies. The event will be closed to the general public. Burbank, Calif.-based 3ality Digital LLC will shoot the game with special cameras and transmit it to a satellite. Thomson SA’s Technicolor Digital Cinema is providing the satellite services and digital downlink to each theater, and Real D 3D Inc. will power the display in the theaters.

This could be a huge advance, indeed.  But, goodness, couldn’t they have picked teams still in playoff contention for the trial run?

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bill H says:

    Or teams that even knew how to play football? (Please note url of my link.)

  2. markm says:

    But, goodness, couldn’t they have picked teams still in playoff contention for the trial run?

    I was thinkin’ the opposite. Why not view a piece of history in 3-D. Hmmm, the 0-16 Lions come to mind….

  3. This actually makes a kind of sense to me. If the technology turns out to be a dud (as much 3D tech has, despite the promises), it won’t be a very loud one and they can try again in the future with better tech.

    3D as a whole still suffers from the perception of the old red and blue glasses, even though there are actually quite a few different technologies that are dramatically better than that. PR matters. It’s making strides in the public mind, thanks to some recent animated 3D releases in theaters, but there’s a lot of ground to cover.

    If this presentation is a success, it’s easy to roll it out to the big name teams. If, on the other hand, it comes off as just a gimmick, it won’t adversely affect the larger franchises. I think this was intentional, if not by the NFL marketing, by the powers that be at the bigger name (at the moment) teams who didn’t want a part of it until it proves itself.

  4. Triumph says:

    I’m waiting for the NFL’s partnership with CNN so they can beam Tony Romo into the Situation Room and Wolf Blitzer can live up to his name and virtually sack ol’ Homo Romo.