MSG drops puck on 3D hockey games

Cabler to air March 24 Rangers-Isles match in format

Sports seems to be centering the offense for the budding 3D TV biz.

Gotham-area Cablevision subscribers who splurged for a new 3D television won’t have to wait long to see some stereoscopic sports action.

MSG announced it will telecast the Wednesday New York Rangers-New York Islanders hockey game in 3D. Game marks the first live 3D sportscast to homes in the U.S. and the first 3D network hockey telecast.

MSG Media prexy Mike Bair told Daily Variety the cabler has more 3D events planned in the months to come.

“We would consider additional playoff games if the equipment is available,” he said. “We’ll do more games next season and we would like to do a live concert for FUSE, our music network, later this year.”

Cablevision is putting up a separate 3D MSG channel for the telecast on its HD service. MSG said it is in discussions with other cable providers as well.

Burbank-based 3ality Digital is supplying the 3D cameras and production tech for the telecast, which will use its own mobile production unit, from Gamecreek Video.

Few homes have 3D TV gear yet but MSG is promoting the format with a viewing party at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. About 2,500 tickets for the event will be on sale for $20. The game will be shown on a bigscreen with a RealD projection system and a VIP room will have 3D flatscreens as well.

Cablevision moved early to HD, switching New York Knicks and Rangers telecasts to high-def in 1998.

Panasonic said recently that Best Buy, the exclusive retailer for its 3D plasma rollout, sold out its inventory of 3D plasma TVs in days, and the sets are already on back-order. They did not release the actual number of units sold.