Will 3D ever be Premier League TV?


It was only a few years ago we were in awe of the release of 3D TV football. It would change the way we watched the beautiful game. Richard Keys was encouraging us to don our glasses and flick over to Rob Palmer on Sky 3D and see Wayne Rooney’s hairline in all its three-dimensional majesty; new gadgets for the modern football fan to enjoy.

Of course a lot has changed since then – not least for old Keysie.

Whilst the gorilla-handed Keys saw his demise so has 3D television, with the format failing to have caught the imagination of viewers leaving it risking the dreaded drop.

When it first began in April 2010, there was a real buzz. Fans were flocking to their local pub, all glasses on staring up at some of the biggest games in football. Sports events have slowly been decreasing from then with the BBC abandoning its 3D experiment, whilst Sky Sports hasn’t scheduled in any Premier League matches on its dedicated channel so far this season.

And that’s hardly surprising. Football fans are generally happy with the more traditional ways of viewing, more interested in what Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have to say rather than witnessing the contours of Richard Dunne’s head popping out of the TV set.

Viewing TV has appeared to go the other way, even in just the four short years since the introduction of 3D. The advantages of streaming on the likes of the iPlayer and SkyGo has meant we can watch the game whenever, wherever.

The use of mobile in sport has shot past the likes of 3D with its ease of accessibility and the main; you don’t have to be at home or in the pub to watch the game functionality. This is extended by the fact there are hundreds of apps to work alongside this with you able to look up statistics, share comments via social media, and track the latest odds with Freebets app and the whole host of bookmakers who have their own downloadable features.

Which probably has put the nail in the coffin for 3D. Sky are continuing to roll out programming on their dedicated channels with David Attenborough documentaries and Hollywood films to be broadcast, but it appears out glasses-wearing days are over.

Head of BT Sport Jamie Hindhaugh, once described the format as “the biggest waste of time” and would not be broadcasting in 3D, whilst ESPN have also shut down its 3D channel, citing low viewing figures and high costs.

But as is in technology, there is a new focus from broacasters – 4K television. Sky have begun to focus their attentions on the Ultra High Definition screens to run alongside their mobile and HD offerings, which is much more likely to really hit the ground running – after all you don’t need glasses.


It’s unlikely that 3D sport will be returning in the very near future. In trade shows across the country, it’s completely subsided, with higher definition models dominating. Like Richard Keys and Andy Gray, it may return for the odd game, but it’s likely to be confined to football history as brighter, slicker technology begin to be as exciting as the Monday Night Football pundit’s table.

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