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FIFA to Do Select World Cup 2010 Matches in 3D

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND: The International Federation of Football said today it would broadcast next year’s World Cup soccer matches in 3D. FIFA said it has signed a media rights agreement with Sony, one of its official partners, to delivery 3D versions of up to 25 matches in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa.

FIFA said it’s “working on whether a live right will be offered in the coming months.”

“This propels the football fan into a whole new viewing dimension and marks the dawning of a new era in the broadcasting of sport,” said FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke. “We are proud that the FIFA World Cup can serve as a platform for advancing technology and the viewing experience, and are truly fortunate to have Sony as a partner in this endeavor.”

Sony chief Sir Howard Stringer likewise weighed in, saying, “3D viewers around the world will feel as though they are inside the stadiums in South Africa, watching the games in person.”

Sony Pictures Entertainment will produce and distribute the official 3D film of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa after the event.

Sony is banking on 3D to help pull the company back to profitability. Stringer said the format is expected to generate $10 billion for the company.

3D is making the most inroads in sports, similar to the way high-definition capture penetrated content. Several football games in the United States have been simulcast in 3D to specially equipped theaters, and in Mexico, Television broadcast its first 3D soccer match to similarly equipped theaters there.

The BBC also announced in September that it would carry a portion of the 2012 Olympic Games in 3D. By that time, BSkyB’s planned deployment of 3D content distribution should be well under way.