ESPN 3D has announced that it will broadcast about 13 NCAA Division 1 football games this year. The network also has named the first three contests:
– Monday, September 6, 8 PM Eastern: Boise State vs. Virginia Tech
– Saturday, September 11, 3:40 PM Eastern: Ohio State vs. Miami
– Saturday, September 18, 7 PM Eastern: Clemson vs. Auburn
The network also will show the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game on Monday, January 10 at 8:30 PM Eastern. ESPN 3D also plans to broadcast additional live sports programming this year, including the NBA, college basketball, and Winter X Games 15. The network is still developing the skills needed for live 3D broadcasting, which requires different camera angles than standard 2D coverage in order to be most effective. The college football broadcasts are sponsored by Sony, and ESPN 3D will be using Sony equipment to produce their live coverage.
13 football games are probably not enough to warrant getting a new 3DTV for most people, but it may be the nudge that some early adopters will need to push them into making a move. Adding 3D coverage to an event that is already being produced in 2D increases the costs significantly — especially since it appears that you can’t use the same camera angles for both — so it will be a while before more networks will be able to provide a lot of live 3D programming. Still, ESPN is getting out in front and doing the experimenting and learning that will be necessary when 3D becomes commonplace, if not the standard mode.