ESPN plans 3D NBA broadcasts for this season & post season

ESPN will expand further into the 3D broadcast market before the end of 2010, when it airs NBA games for the first time in 3D.

ESPN and the NBA plan to air 8 games this season, starting with a game between the Miami Heat and New York Knicks on Friday, December 17th. Six NBA post-season games will also be shown in 3D next spring, the sports channel announced.

ESPN has already showed its growing faith in the new technology when it broadcasted the 2010 FIFA World Cup in 3D, so this news of additional 3D content isn’t a huge surprise.

DirecTV also offers dedicated 3D channels with Major League Baseball games (and the 2010 All-Star Game) broadcasted in 3D. ESPN 3D is available through AT&T’s Uverse service, and will soon launch on Time Warner Cable.

I believe ESPN and other content providers supporting 3D will help win over TV viewers slowly but surely. As the amount of 3D technology during trade shows increases, much of the previewed content is based on sporting events.

If you haven’t seen a 3D sporting event yet, or last saw one a few years ago, there may be a few different reasons to give it a shot. First and foremost, the quality in 3DTVs has reached an even higher level while TV makers become more familiar with 3D.

Another significant advantage is the new cameras and software editing packages available to render the 3D imaging. For example, ESPN has learned how to better adjust 3D camera positions, increase 3D data transmissions, and even monitor fan reaction to 3D content being viewed.

Analysts are unsure if increased 3D sporting coverage will lead to higher adoption rates, especially when consumers want to wait for lower prices and glasses-free TVs. Either way, it’s exciting to hear that some NBA content will be available in 3D this season, so that those consumers who own 3DTV’s will have even more content.