Giants-Pats to Clash on FiOS in 3D

NEW YORK: Verizon will offer its first professional football game in 3D with the upcoming preseason match-up of the New York Giants and the New England Patriots. The carrier will provide a 3D version of the Sept. 2 game to FiOS subscribers in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Coverage from the Meadowlands will start at 6:45 p.m. ET, with pre-game, half-time and post-game shows in 3D as well. Kick-off is at 7 p.m.

“The Giants are excited to host the first 3D broadcast of an NFL Game in our new stadium,” Giants Chief Marketing Officer Mike Stevens said of the new Meadowlands venue. “We have worked closely with our partner Verizon in developing new technology throughout the stadium....”

Verizon is producing the 3D broadcast, but provided no details about number of cameras on the shoot. It said the telecast would be called by Spero Dedes, analyst Howard Cross and sideline reporter Kimberly Jones. It will be carried on FiOS Ch. 834 in New York City and Long Island; Westchester and Rockland counties; subscribers in northern New Jersey, Mercer County, N.J.; Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

The carrier is also throwing viewing parties at the Meadowlands and at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass, with local Boys and Girls Club members invited to the latter. Verizon said it’s working to get a couple of sports bars to carry the 3D feed--Slate Bar in Manhattan and Snookers in Providence, R.I. Both possibly represent the first public venues to carry a 3DTV event in the United States. BSkyB launched 3DTV in the United Kingdom through a network of pubs early this year.

The Giants-Pats game will be Verizon’s second 3D sporting event. Its first was the July 10-11 Major League Baseball Yankees-Mariners games in 3D, also carried on Comcast and Cox cable systems, and DirecTV. MLB, the YES Network and DirecTV produced the 3D coverage--the first such coverage of an MLB game.

Verizon came to the 3DTV field late compared to cable operators and DirecTV. Cablevision was up with 3D hockey in March. It was cut out of Comcast’s 3D production of the Masters golf tourney in April, which was carried on Comcast, Time Warner and Cox--cable operators who’s service areas don’t overlap. Verizon pitched a fit at the time, saying that “some TV service providers... are hoarding their 3D programming.”

Today’s announcement had a hint of that competitive spite.

“This is the next major step in our development of 3D experiences for our FiOS TV customers,” Verizon’s Terry Denson said. “Broadcasting the first 3D NFL game delivers on our promise to FiOS customers to provide a superior TV offering, including 3D, HD and VOD programming, as well as interactivity that cable can’t match.”

Verizon hasn’t yet announced a programming deal with ESPN 3D, the channel that launched in June with the 2010 World Cup. It did announce on July 15 carriage of 3D content from WealthTV to be made available as video on demand.

Verizon halted its build-out of FiOS this year. (DSL Reports cites expense and issues in the executive suite.) Thus its FiOS TV subscribers as of June 30 totaled just 3.2 million, according to its own figures. Verizon lists “premises passed” as totaling 15.9 million, or half of its wireline footprint.
-- Deborah D. McAdams

May 12, 2010: “Verizon to Carry First 3D Baseball Games on FiOS TV”
Verizon plans to carry the 3D feed of this summer’s Major League Baseball games now slated for the format, marking the telcoTV provider’s entry into 3D.

May 5, 2010: “Major League Baseball’s On Deck for 3D in July”
The first-ever Major League Baseball games to be telecast in 3D are on deck.

April 2, 2010 : “Verizon Takes Another Swipe at Cable 3DTV
Comcast cut out satellite and telcoTV operators from its 3DTV coverage of the upcoming Masters golf tournament.

March 29, 2010: “Verizon Makes 3D Plans for FiOS
Verizon is jumping on the 3DTV bandwagon, but not without a swipe at competitive carriers that are launching first.