While the Knicks are looking toward LeBron for their marketing future, MSG is looking into a more technology-friendly option to guarantee the Rangers’ future: 3-D television. Being the good reporters we are, we went to the media hubbub that MSG put on to debut the first Rangers game in 3-D: a catered, open bar (okay, beer and wine) and celebrity-laden affair (Hilary Rhoda is apparently a big 3-D fan?) on Wednesday night for the Rangers-Islanders game.
The result? Pure awesomeness. We were skeptical when one of the marketing gurus behind the plan told us before the game that the 3-D experience would be “like sitting in the middle of the rink” … but he was right. With pucks and bodies flying at us, we not only saw the game up close and personal, but even clearer than we would have seen rinkside.
What was most impressive about the technology were the details that we normally haven’t seen in a hockey game. Take for example, a fight. We always thought that hockey fights were just two lugs pushing each other around for show. But with the 3-D vision we saw what really happened — the biting, the knocking off of the helmets, and the tearing of the jerseys. And we saw the jawing, too: Sean Avery cursing a group of Islanders players and trying to get away from the ref who was dragging him to the penalty box.
The technology hasn’t advanced quick enough to avoid little slip-ups, like when the cotton-candy man walked past the camera, blaring cotton-candy colors and temporarily blinding the audience. It also can’t handle a lot of graphics (they look like they’re exploding off the screen), which makes viewers more dependent on announcers for interesting facts and information, not always the most reliable proposition.
All in all, though, if this is the future of sports entertainment — and most people would agree that it is — count us in.