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Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Football in 3D - A new risk to average attendances?


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The world has evolved and developed a lot since the 1950s with the invention, evolution and development of everything from bladeless fans to electric cars and high definition broadcasts and beyond, but what have the boffins responsible for 3D been doing for 60 years since its inception?

3D today is very much in a boom period with Sky, BBC and a host of other channels jumping on the bandwagon to broadcast programmes with this new technology. But how are we, the viewing public, seeing these images? It is still only possible to watch these programmes with the use of glasses. The lenses may no longer be red and green and made of card but, and pardon my pessimism, the evolution of 3D hasn’t exactly been revolutionary over those 60 years.

It’s only over the past couple of years that we have seen development start to speed up and in the past 12 months we’ve seen the first handheld gaming console, the Nintendo 3DS, able to display 3D imagery without the need for glasses. With a host of devices now seemingly following suit, it seems the revolution has finally started.

So how will this affect football? Well I’m sure it won’t be long before a true 3D experience is developed without the need for glasses and as far as the experience of watching football goes it will come as close to being there without actually being there.

What next from a broadcasting point of view? The ability to choose which stand in the ground you want to hear the crowd chants and general ambience from? Smells pumped in to replicate being at the ground? With this ever, realistic and immersive television experience will football attendances suffer with fans choosing to stay at home or join their friends at the pub instead? 

It may not be a new problem for clubs to contend with, but it’s certainly one that isn’t going to go away as broadcasters look to lure fans away from the ground and in front of the TV to counter falling advertising revenues. So how will the revolution continue? How do clubs cater for those seeking a richer experience? Nothing is ever going to compete with the real life experience of being at the ground, but will clubs start to look to make the match day experience somehow more interactive and immersive for fans?

Article by Phil Bundy

Calling all football fans. What do you think the future of football and broadcasting will look like? We’ve already got Sky’s brilliant interactive coverage of Champions League goals and 3D broadcasts. What’s next? Whatever your views we’d love to hear from you.

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Colin Illingworth

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