3-D Football Game Closes In on Gator-Sooner Fans

Technology puts Gator-Sooner fans on cusp of entertainment revolution.

ByABC News
January 9, 2009, 10:49 AM

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 9, 2008 — -- Thousands of football fans who couldn't make it to Miami's Dolphin Stadium Thursday night for college football's Bowl Championship Series game still managed to score seats with a ground-level view -- a virtual one.

In a first major test of the technology, Fox Sports broadcast the game live in 3-D to 82 movie theaters in 30 states. For $20 to $25, depending on the theater, fans could sport a pair of plastic glasses and watch the Gators-Sooners game in three dimensions.

But sports fans and novelty-seekers flocking to theaters for this unprecedented broadcast weren't the only ones "tuning in" to Thursday night's game, which Oklahoma lost to Florida, 24-14.

At this year's annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where several companies are showcasing 3-D home televisions, industry watchers are buzzing that 3-D technology is the next digital frontier.

Reaction to this broadcast could be an indicator of the technology's commercial viability.

"It felt like I was on the field," said Aaron Coldiron, 34, who watched the game from a Rave Motion Picture Theater in Las Vegas.

He said that surround sound even added to the sensation of being encased by crowds in a stadium.

Decked out in maroon-and-orange fan gear, a full audience at the Rave donned the updated, but still unmistakable, 3-D glasses with polarized lenses to watch the game unfold. To mirror the stadium experience, the theater had servers travel the room selling beer and snacks.

Brendan Berglund, 19, an art institute student, was impressed.

Though he said he'd still prefer a real game to 3-D version, he added that it was worth the $25 and a great experience.

"I'd definitely do it again," he said.

As they left the theater, the 3-D "guinea pigs" for the night told ABCNews.com that although a few glitches made it clear that the technology is still in development, they looked forward to more 3-D programming.

Sports fans in Las Vegas not watching from the theater said they were blown away by news of the 3-D broadcast.