Some lucky viewers will feel as if they're right on the field at tonight's football game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers, without going any farther than their local movie house. In addition to the usual TV coverage, the game will be simulcast in 3-D to private theater audiences in Los Angeles, New York and Boston by the Burbank, Calif., firm 3ality Digital.
"We are merely doing a test for our friends at the NFL to show them definitively that this digital 3-D technology is now," 3ality chairman David Modell told the Associated Press. Modell likely has many friends in the league—he's a former president of the Baltimore Ravens and the son of Art Modell, who owned the Ravens and their predecessor, the original incarnation of the Cleveland Browns, for more than 40 years.
Tonight's broadcast is merely a "proof of concept," NFL senior vice president for media operations Howard Katz told the Wall Street Journal. "We want to demonstrate this and let people get excited about it and see what the future holds."
3-D camera crews will share camera platforms and positions with standard broadcast crews, 3ality CEO Steve Schklair told the Baltimore Sun. In the theaters, viewers will don 3-D glasses to catch the action. Those really close to the action—the fans at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium—will likely have to endure a rowdier environment. The San Diego Union-Tribune's Chargers blog reports that past games between the teams "have spawned far more fisticuffs in the stands than on the field." San Diego police lieutenant Mark Hanten told the paper that "the problems are fighting and drunkenness, and drunkenness begets fighting."