World Cup In 3DTV’s No Party Favor


Soccer fans interested in watching
2010 World Cup matches on 3DTV best
be prepared to buy a 3D-enabled TV set,
get the right sets of glasses and hope
their multichannel provider launches
ESPN 3D so they can watch at home.

While those soccer matches in South
Africa will be the new channel’s centerpiece
events — and a quarter of the 100
events planned for the first year — ESPN
isn’t planning any arena or theatrical
viewings. A spot check of other possible
public sites or providers yielded no plans
for any viewing parties, either.

Comcast, one of ESPN 3D’s first announced
launch partners, doesn’t plan
any public viewing parties of World Cup
matches, a representative said. Neither
does DirecTV, the other initial affiliate,
according to its press representative.
Sony, a sponsor of ESPN 3D, did not provide
an answer to the question about
World Cup 3DTV viewing parties by press
time last week.

ESPN 3D launches June 11 with the
10 a.m. ET opening match of the World
Cup finals: Mexico vs. South Africa, the
host nation.

The first scheduled ESPN 3D match involving
the USA squad is against Slovenia
at 10 a.m. ET June 18. Another big 3DTV
draw will be on Sunday, June 20, at 2:30
p.m.: perennial power Brazil vs. Ivory
Coast, led by striker Didier Drogba.

In the United Kingdom, satellite-TV
provider British Sky Broadcasting has
promoted 3DTV by showing English club
matches in pubs. Sky helped pubs purchase
reasonably priced LG 3DTV sets
that only require $1 glasses — not the
kind that can cost $150 each.

Bars served by ESPN 3D affiliates will
have access to the channel. A quick check
of some bars affiliated with the U.S. Soccer
Federation, though, found none
planned to host 3DTV events.

“We won’t be showing any game in 3D
this time — the cost is very prohibitive for
such a new technology and I’m sure we
will see a drastic reduction in a few years,”
Mark Rowe, owner of Mickey Byrne’s Irish
Pub in Hollywood, Fla., told Multichannel
via e-mail. “No doubt by Brazil 2014
most bars will have 3D available.”

Ciara O’Neill, general manager of Fado
Irish Pub in Washington, D.C., said she
was not aware of ESPN’s plans to launch a
3DTV channel carrying World Cup matches,
“but now I’m going to go find out what
it is because it sounds kind of cool.”

TV maker Panasonic had explored
the possibility of hosting viewing events
around the World Cup in 3D, but determined
it wouldn’t be feasible, Jeff Samuels,
public relations strategist for the
company’s brand marketing group, said.
“We’d like to do it,” he said. “There wasn’t
enough manpower.”

Fans might gravitate to TV retailers to
sample some World Cup action. Top consumer-
electronics chain Best Buy has no
plans for 3DTV World Cup viewing parties,
though, spokeswoman Erin Bix said.

Best Buy does have a World Cup promotion
planned for some stores in Los Angeles
and Miami, Fla.: on weekends, fans can
visit participating stores to have their picture
taken in front of a green screen, have
the images digitally transferred to a FIFA
World Cup themed background and then
printed out to take home. That promo runs
from June 12-July 4, Bix said.