USTA Gives CBS Sports, Panasonic Go-Ahead for U.S. Open in 3D

As part of a new three-year official-sponsorship agreement with Panasonic, the USTA will spearhead the first-ever 3D broadcasts of the U.S. Open tennis tournament. CBS Sports will produce a 3D feed of all the Arthur Ashe Stadium matches that it broadcasts in HD on Labor Day Weekend and on Finals Weekend, Sept. 10-12. These matches will be made available nationwide via DirecTV’s exclusive dedicated 3D entertainment channel, n3D, which is also sponsored by Panasonic.

“CBS Sports is looking forward to using this groundbreaking technology during our coverage of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships,” says Harold Bryant, VP, production, for CBS Sports. “With the court-level camera positions that will make viewers feel like they are right on the court, and the resonant sounds of the game and the spectators, tennis will be a spectacular sport to see in 3D.”

The 3D broadcasts will use a separate production team and equipment from the traditional HD broadcasts of the tournament. Plans call for six camera rigs (each holding two HD cameras), two 3D production trucks, and a 3D-dedicated CBS Sports broadcast team. CBS has designed the 3D-camera placements lower to the court than traditional TV locations to capture the close-up–and–personal dimension of tennis in the 3D broadcast. To view the U.S. Open in 3D, fans must have a 3D television and 3D eyewear and subscribe to DirecTV.

On-site at the 2010 U.S. Open, Panasonic will have three 3D viewing galleries: a 3D Panasonic Showcase in the former International Tennis Hall of Fame Gallery on the floor level of Louis Armstrong Stadium; another in SmashZone, the U.S. Open’s interactive tennis experience for fans located in the state-of-the-art indoor facility; and one more in the South Plaza area. Panasonic and DirecTV also will provide the semifinal and final matches live in 3D to hundreds of TV retail outlets nationwide, including Best Buy stores, as part of the Sept. 10-12 “National 3D Demo Days” organized by the Consumer Electronics Association.

“We are very pleased to enter a new era of sports production with a new partner, Panasonic, and our long-time partner, CBS,” says Lucy S. Garvin, USTA chairman of the board/president. “We continually explore innovations for the U.S. Open and new ways to present our tournament to tennis fans. 3D technology is the wave of the future, and, once again, the U.S. Open will be on the cutting edge.”

Panasonic also will reach out to viewers with advertising geared to the new 3D technology during the CBS Sports broadcasts of the U.S. Open. The Panasonic sponsorship deal also includes sponsorship of Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day, which opens the tournament, and new digital signage in the three stadiums and at most of the outer courts at the tournament.

“Panasonic is proud to support the U.S. Open, on-site and in homes throughout the country, by bringing live match action to tennis fans in immersive 3D,” says Joseph M. Taylor, chairman/CEO of Panasonic Corp. of North America. “Panasonic consumer and professional 3D displays will show the Arthur Ashe Stadium matches to spectators on-site in Flushing Meadows; viewers nationwide can see them via DirecTV’s exclusive 3D channel; and our professional 3D camcorder will be used to shoot interviews and other footage in 3D for CBS’s production.”