MSG said Thursday that it will produce the Mar. 24 National Hockey League game between the New York Rangers and New York Islanders at Madison Square Garden in stereoscopic 3D, using specialized 3D camera rigs from 3ality Digital, and broadcast it to paying customers at the Theater within Madison Square Garden.
The 3D telecast will also be carried by Cablevision and offered to MSG HD subscribers who have bought 3D HD televisions that hit store shelves this month. MSG says it is in discussions with other pay-TV providers about carrying the 3D game.
While the NHL shot some test footage of January's Winter Classic game from Boston's Fenway Park that was shown at CES, the MSG production represents the first live network hockey telecast to be produced in 3D and the first live 3D sports telecast that will be offered to cable subscribers, coming a few weeks ahead of Comcast's telecast of The Master golf tournament in 3D.
"MSG has been a leader in delivering emerging technology to our viewers, and a leader in high quality original programming, including a record 64 Emmy nominations this year," said MSG Media president Michael Bair in a statement. "We were the first regular providers of high-definition sports telecasts with Knicks and Rangers games more than a decade ago, and we're excited to continue this tradition of providing the most innovative and creative telecasts to our audience."
The Rangers will host a special 3D viewing party of the game at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, with tickets available through the team's Website for $20 apiece. The party will feature appearances by former Rangers stars Mark Messier, Adam Graves, Ron Duguay, Nick Fotiu, Ron Greschner, and Dan Blackburn , as well as fan contests and giveaways. Longtime Rangers voice Kenny Albert will call the play-by-play for the 3D game, former Ranger Dave Maloney will serve as analyst, and Al Trautwig will serve as television host for the evening.
The game will be shot using 3ality Digital 3D camera rigs and image processors, which have already captured college football for Fox and professional soccer for U.K. pay-TV operator Sky, with the support of a dedicated mobile truck from Game Creek Video. Harris will provide encoders and signal processing equipment to bring the 3D signal from Madison Square Garden to MSG's network operations center. RealD will provide its 3D display technology, including eyewear, screen and filtering technology, for the MSG Theater viewing party.