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ESPN 3D to keynote Sports Broadcast

13 October 2010
ESPN 3D to keynote Sports Broadcast

Jonathan Pannaman, senior director of technology at ESPN, will keynote TVBEurope’s Sports Broadcast Europe conference at BAFTA on October 28, writes Adrian Pennington

Sports broadcasters don’t come any bigger than ESPN, which pioneered an HD sports network in 2003 and has again led the world in getting to air the first national 3D network. It launched its 3D channel ESPN 3D on June 11 to coincide with the first game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup and will have broadcast nearly a hundred events in 3D including college football, college basketball, pro basketball and the Summer X Games from Los Angeles and Aspen by the end of this year.

Where many other networks and operators dipped their toes into 3D around one-off sports events, the Walt Disney-owned network engineered a regular 3D service from scratch.

At the centre of all key decision making was Jonathan Pannaman, who joined ESPN in 2007 after spending 17 years at Quantel, leaving as CTO.

Aside from huge experience of the challenges involved in 3D sports production, Pannaman has grappled with the design and implementation of master control operations and the insertion of commercials, trailers, and graphics all in 3D.

He has spearheaded a 3D Technology Lab at ESPN where new channel branding, on-air graphics and production gallery equipment is tested.

At Sports Broadcast Europe he will provide a status report on the first six months of ESPN 3D and key lessons learned en route. He will air his views on the merits of live converted 2D HD pictures and reveal plans to bring 3D to a wider sports portfolio in 2011.

Pannaman joins a host of other world leaders in live sports broadcast operations including Gabriel Fehervari who has taken the Alfacam Group from a small live event video production company in Belgium to one of the very few organisations in the world capable of systems integrating, servicing and crewing the world’s major outside broadcast events. On the way Alfacam has also diversified into multimedia television services, HD satellite broadcasts and wireless TV services.

Its equipment and expertise are a fixture at events such as the FIFA World Cup and nineteen of its trucks and flyaways have already been booked by the host broadcaster of the 2012 London Olympics.

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