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Sky Sports Announces World's First Live 3-D Soccer Match Telecast

PTI 28 Jan 2010, 12:49:41 IST

British network Sky Sports claims it will broadcast the world's first live sports event in 3-D when Arsenal hosts Manchester United in the Premier League on Sunday.

Previous 3-D trials have been limited to closed-circuit broadcasts in Britain and the United States, but the BSkyB channel will be transmitting Sunday's match via regular satellite decoder boxes to selected pubs in Britain and Ireland.

Football fans will have to wear special glasses to watch the 3-D televisions at the nine venues as they preview Sky's dedicated 3-D channel, which will be launched in April.

The channel will be available to pub subscribers before being expanded to regular customers and will initially broadcast one Premier League match a week in the new format.

"3-D is without doubt one of the most talked-about developments in television for many years," BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch said on Thursday.

Viewers in the United States won't witness live sport in 3-D until June when ESPN broadcasts the World Cup, although _ like in Britain _ there have been trials of live sport in movie theaters.

Consumer interest in 3-D technology has been spurred by the release of James Cameron's sci-fi movie "Avatar," which is set to become the biggest grossing movie of all time.

And Sky's technology team, which has been developing 3-D systems for two years, sought help from Cameron.

"James is a massive evangelist about 3-D and he lives, breathes and eats 3-D and just wants to see good 3-D out there," said Sky Sports director of operations Darren Long. "For him, it was about how we were going to do it, what equipment we were going to use, what were our filming techniques. He's all about 'Get the message out there, get it out well and to the people properly."'

BSkyB is controlled by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., which holds a 39 percent stake. AP