The FIFA World Cup will undoubtedly be a showcase of sports production techniques. As one of the most-watched international events on the sporting calendar, the expectations from fans are high. South Africa was not well-endowed with suitable venues, because existing facilities were designed more for rugby and cricket, but the World Cup has brought with it excellent, purpose-designed football stadiums.
The country also did not have the technical resources for such a mammoth event, so a veritable army of production personnel and technicians have travelled, largely from Western Europe, to the southern hemisphere to provide coverage of the month-long event.
Up-and-coming broadcast technology is sure to provide compelling coverage, as well as — for the first time for some lucky viewers — coverage in 3-D. The 3-D coverage should prove to be a milestone. In the last year, production techniques have been honed and new equipment developed to process the stereo signals. These techniques and technologies will surely be tested, with 25 consecutive matches being covered in 3-D. Those in charge of the 3-D broadcasts are looking for the World Cup to establish the technology as a normal (if expensive) way to cover major events, and prove that it is no longer just an experiment.
For most fans, however, the most useful innovation will be the mobile TV coverage; the event will surely test the capacity of 3G networks worldwide. Detailed mobile coverage will not only stream the matches, but also it will provide around-the-clock coverage of training camps, team interviews and all of the background information that the fans live for.
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