Flushing, N.Y. -
said Tuesday that it has signed a three-year agreement to become an official sponsor of the USTA U.S. Open Tennis Tournament, held here.
Working with CBS Sports, the USTA and Panasonic will spearhead the first-ever 3D broadcasts of the tournament, the USTA said.
CBS Sports will produce the 3D telecasts from the Arthur Ashe Stadium along with its HD telecasts on Labor Day weekend and on finals weekend, Sept. 10-12. The matches will be made carried via DirecTV's "n|3D Powered by Panasonic" channel (103).
On site at the 2010 U.S. Open, Panasonic will have three 3D viewing galleries -- a 3D Panasonic Showcase located in the former International Tennis Hall of Fame Gallery on the floor level of Louis Armstrong Stadium; another in SmashZone, the U.S. Open's interactive tennis experience for fans and families located in the state-of-the-art indoor facility; and one more in the South Plaza area.
Panasonic and DirecTV also will provide the U.S. Open semifinal and final matches live in 3D to hundreds of TV retail outlets nationwide, including Best Buy stores, as part of the Sept. 10-12 "National 3D Demo Days" organized by the CEA.
"We are very pleased to enter a new era of sports production with a new partner, Panasonic, and our longtime partner, CBS," said Lucy S. Garvin, USTA chairman and president. "We continually explore new innovations for the U.S. Open, and new ways to present our tournament to tennis fans. 3D technology is the wave of the future, and once again the U.S. Open will be on the cutting edge."
"Panasonic is proud to support the US Open, on site and in homes throughout the country, by bringing live match action to tennis fans in immersive 3D," said Joseph M. Taylor, chairman and CEO of Panasonic North America. "Panasonic consumer and professional 3D displays will show the Arthur Ashe Stadium matches to spectators on site in Flushing Meadows, viewers nationwide can see them via DirecTV's exclusive 3D channel, â€˜n|3D powered by Panasonic,' and our professional 3D camcorder will be used to shoot interviews and other footage in 3D for CBS's production."
The 3D broadcasts will use a separate production team and equipment from the traditional HD broadcasts of the tournament. Plans call for six camera rigs (each holding two high-definition cameras), two special 3D production trucks, and a unique 3D-dedicated CBS Sports broadcast team. CBS has designed the 3D camera placements lower to the court than traditional TV locations, in order to capture the close-up and personal, athletic dimension of tennis that make 3D such a powerful experience.
Panasonic also will reach out to viewers with advertising geared to the new 3D technology during the CBS Sport' broadcasts of the US Open. In order to view the U.S. Open in 3D, fans must have 3D televisions and 3D eyewear and be subscribers to DirecTV.
The Panasonic sponsorship also includes Arthur Ashe Kids' Day, the U.S. Open's tennis and entertainment event that serves as the unofficial opening to the tournament.
In addition, Panasonic will have new, digital signage in the three stadiums and at most of the outer courts at the U.S. Open.