Versus will step onto the 3D field for the first time next Saturday with a college football doubleheader.
The Comcast-owned national sports network will present its first-ever live 3D telecast with coverage of the Pac 10 matchup featuring No. 1 Oregon Ducks visiting the Cal Bears at 7:30 p.m. (ET) on Nov. 13. That game will be preceded by San Diego State at No. 3 TCU at 4 p.m., marking the first time a college pigskin contest will use Versus Vision, powered by 3D-4U's iRL3D technology that enables a user-controlled, 180-degree 3D experience for highlights on www.versus.com.
Marc Fein, executive vice president of programming, production and business operations for Versus, said the network has been contemplating its 3D debut for some time.
"We certainly want to be in the game and test the 3D waters to determine what we need to do next year or over the next three to five years," he said. "We also had been in touch with all of our major properties, the NHL, UFC, PBR (Bull Riding) and Tour De France about the potential for offering 3D telecasts."
But the appeal of college gridiron and the high-flying Ducks won the day.
"We looked at our schedule and the potential for the [matchup] selections by ABC, ESPN and Fox Sports Net and we knew this game had the potential to feature a team in the top five, hopefully the No. 1 team," said Fein. "And we said this is it."
At press time, Versus had signed affiliate deals with parent Comcast, Cox, Verizon FiOS and Time Warner Cable, and was continuing to negotiate with others for carriage of its 3D telecast.
Versus will also host a viewing area on-site at Cal's Memorial Stadium so fans, students and media can check out the live 3D telecast, which will feature a separate production crew and multiple cameras, proffering new game vistas and differing from the net's HD game production.
Wayne Larrivee, who currently calls games for the Green Bay Packers on the radio, will handle play-by-play duties for the 3D telecast, joined by former Chicago Bears quarterback Eric Kramer in the booth, with Heidi Androl reporting from the sidelines. Versus' HD telecast will feature Ron Thulin as the play-by-play announcer, along with Glenn Parker providing color commentary and Lewis Johnson serving as the sideline reporter.
Relative to Versus Vision, viewers can select camera angles and specific game highlights through the iRL3D technology, which they can control via their computer's mouse. This technology can be viewed in 2D HD on standard computers or on systems with 3D capabilities.
"Fans can check out action from the line of scrimmage, from the perspective of the defensive backs and panoramic views from the stands," explained Fein.
For those in attendance at TCU's Arnon G. Carter Stadium, there will be an exclusive on-site demonstration providing fans with the opportunity to experience the technology live and speak with representatives from 3D-4U about Versus Vision.
Ted Robinson has the SDSU-TCU game call in HD, flanked by lead analyst Kelly Stouffer and Lindsay Soto on the sidelines.