ESPN 3D a success after all!

Good news for beleaguered sports channel?
Could 3D glasses have helped the ref see Lampard's shot cross the line?
Could 3D glasses have helped the ref see Lampard's shot cross the line?


Sports fans preferred ESPN's 3D coverage of the World Cup tournament this summer to its 2D HDTV efforts, according to the broadcaster’s own research.

The results of a new study conducted by the sports network's research and analytics division encompassing more than 1,000 testing sessions (approx. 2700 lab hours) found that subjects showed "a higher level of viewer enjoyment" and "a stronger sense of presence" with the 3D broadcasts.

Quantifying that even further, yet simultaneously further muddying the waters of exactly what its claims are, ESPN said rather vaguely that fans' enjoyment increased from 65 percent to 70 percent in 3-D while "presence" went from 42 percent to 69 percent.

In an attempt to lend something more concrete to the somewhat vague claims, the network said the research used an experimental design approach and more than 700 measures that included the use of perception analyzers, eye gaze and electrodermal activity. The study focused on a variety of topics, such as overall viewing enjoyment, fatigue and novelty effects, technology differences, production issues and advertising impact.

For advertisers, the study showed that viewer engagement was high when viewing 3-D ads. According to Artie Bulgrin, senior vice president of ESPN research and analytics, ad ‘liking’ went from 67 percent to 84 percent.

The fact that the new research comes hot on the heels of comments by ESPN’s senior director of technology, Jonathan Pannaman, essentially branding the network’s 3D venture a commercial failure, as reported previously on, is doubtless in no way related to the recent better news.

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