Sony Extends Sponsorship, 83 Million Americans (Really??) to Watch in 3-D
By Stephanie Wei under PGA Tour

Ryan Palmer, '10 Sony Open Champ

More good sponsorship news for the PGA Tour! Sony Corp. announced Tuesday that it will extend its sponsorship of the Sony Open in Honolulu, Hawaii, through 2014. This January’s event will be the first PGA Tour co-sponsored tournament televised live in 3-D. Which is awesome because 3-D TV is basically made for golf (seriously, coolest experience was getting to watch Round 1 of The Masters in 3-D — it’s like you’re there!).

But here’s where I got confused. Sony estimated there are approximately 83 million homes in the US that have 3-D compatible television sets, according to the AP. One reader wrote to me, “If my life depended on finding a 3-D TV to watch within the hour, I wouldn’t survive.” I mean, how many people do you know that own one? Exactly.

“We have seen what high-definition does for golf telecasts, and 3-D is the logical next step to enhancing our broadcasts and providing fans with the ultimate viewing experience, particularly in such a beautiful setting as Hawaii,” PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.

No doubt it’s going to be amazing. Honestly, when 3-D TVs become mainstream and all tournaments are broadcast in multiple dimensions, I could see it increasing ratings (even when Tiger isn’t playing!). But of course, it’s expensive and some find wearing sunglasses cumbersome.

Electronics and entertainment companies around the world are banking on 3-D to fuel a new boom in TV, movies and games. Most 3-D TVs on the market today rely on bulky glasses to rapidly deliver separate images to each eye, which creates a sense of three-dimensional depth.

Besides having special cameras, offering the Sony in 3-D requires significant costs including having a separate crew and TV announcer, editing truck and transmission.

“So it’s going to be a completely separate program,” said Sony Hawaii General Manager Kay Aoki. “It would not double the cost because we have areas that could be shared, but it would be additional.”

The Sony Open’s 3-D coverage will be aired on Golf Channel and Comcast.