Football was the first sport to get the treatment. Rugby, golf and tennis soon followed. Now, showjumping is to be broadcast in 3D.
In a world first, Sky will film the puissance and grand prix at Horse of the Year Show (HOYS, 4-9 October) in 3D.
“I’m really excited,” Helena Pettitt, managing director of HOYS organisers Grandstand Media, told H&H.
“To see a horse jumping out of the screen will be amazing.”
Sky is hoping to film the speed horse and accumulator classes in 3D, too, plus some Pony Club mounted games.
While some sports – notably cricket – have not lent themselves particularly well to the 3D format, Sky is confident that showjumping and 3D will be perfect bedfellows.
Robin Broomfield, Sky 3D operations manager, said: “3D lends itself very well to equestrianism. Some sports are very ‘in your face’. When we trialled rugby in 3D, people were jumping out of their seats – the ball seemed to be bouncing towards them. We’re confident showjumping will work just as well.”
Ms Pettitt said visitors would be able to watch 3D footage at the show as well.
“We will be putting screens in the Lakeside bar, which will run pre-recorded 3D footage that Sky is producing,” she said.
But at home the audience for 3D showjumping is likely to be modest – at least, for the time being – given that 3D TVs have only been available for the past year.
To watch HOYS in 3D at home, you will need a television with a 3D system and a Sky Plus HD box with the relevant package (currently £62.25 per month, including the box).
Showjumper Tim Stockdale, who will be competing at HOYS, told H&H he was excited.
“I’ve seen films in 3D at the cinema and watched football with the glasses on in a sports bar. I thought it would be gimmicky, but it was excellent.
“The fact that Sky is doing this shows they want to invest in showjumping and hold it dear. That has got to be a good thing for our sport.”
To buy tickets to watch top showjumpers at HOYS, as well as showing, demos and – new for this year – the Express Eventing final, visit: www.hoys.co.uk or tel: 0844 5818282.
This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (29 September, 2011)