Fans will get a chance to see the beautiful game in a different way when CBC begins its marathon coverage of the World Cup of soccer Friday from South Africa.
The network plans more than 1,000 combined hours of coverage in both English and French of the world’s largest sport’s tournament. Live streaming of matches on CBCSports.ca will allow devotees to watch individual players and even see the game from an end zone camera.
“This will allow viewers to consume the World Cup in a way they have never been able to see it before,” said Trevor Pilling, CBC’s executive producer of World Cup coverage.
For the first time, the final match and third-place game will be shown in 3D. Viewers will need a 3D television and should contact their local television service provider for more information on how to experience these matches.
All 64 games in the month-long tournament will be shown in high definition. Of those, 56 will be broadcast live on the main network.
The 2010 champion will be crowned July 11 in a match scheduled for 2 p.m. ET.
“It’s on the scale of an Olympics in terms of the amount of hours that we are putting on the air and the overall commitment,” said Pilling, who was executive producer of the CBC’s 2008 Summer Games coverage.
“It’s a different beast in we are just dealing with one sport as opposed to multiple disciplines.”
On days when there are two matches on at the same time, one will be seen on the main network while the other can be viewed on CBC’s digital channel Bold HD.
The game shown on Bold will be replayed on the main network later in the day. There also will be replays of the match of the day.
People watching games live on the Internet can view the action on four feeds. Besides the main play-by-play, one feed will follow the match from one of the end zones.
There also will be two feeds that isolate on one player from each team. Pilling said that feed will switch to a different player after 30 minutes.
“That type of coverage has never been . . . in the Canadian coverage of the World Cup before,” said Pilling.
Having all the World Cup games available on the web means some fans can play hooky from work without leaving their desks.
”If I was an employer in Canada, and I employed a bunch of soccer fans, I would be concerned,” Pilling joked. ”They are going to be watching soccer on their laptops.
”A think there will be some man-hours lost to World Cup passion.”
Rogers customers can watch the games on their smartphones.
Hosting CBC’s morning game coverage will be Mitch Peacock, along with analysts Nigel Reed and Bob Lenarduzzi.
Scott Russell will host the afternoon and prime time broadcasts with analysts Jason de Vos and John Collins.
De Vos, a former captain of Canada’s national team, said the wide range of fans watching the broadcasts makes it a challenge to deliver information.
”It’s a balancing act,” he said. ”There are die-hard soccer fans across the country. They want to see that in-depth, technical analysis.
“On the other end of the spectrum, you have fans that maybe watch only one soccer game every four years. You have to try and not alienate either party.”
De Vos’s prediction is for Spain to win the World Cup. His long-shot to watch is Serbia.
The hosts and analysts will work out of Toronto. CBC will use the world feed for match play-by-play.
Reporting from South Africa will be Brenda Irving and Kim Brunhuber. They will supply news and features as the tournament progresses.
CBC’s Bold currently has just over one million subscribers. Those numbers could increase with the World Cup.
”Any time you are able to put a world class property on any platform . . . it’s a good thing,” Pilling said. ”We hope it would increase our viewership on any of those platforms.”
The Score Television Network has reached an agreement with CBC to offer coverage.
James Sharman and Sid Seixeiro will host FIFA World Cup Tonight which will include match highlights and news. Cabral (Cabbie) Richards will also capture his experience with fans, events and the scenery of South Africa.
Fans with access to TLN Telelatino Network will be able to watch the entire tournament in Italian and Spanish.
The Spanish broadcasts will feature the explosive play-by-play of Pablo Ramirez and analyst Jesus Bracamontes.
The Italian play-by-play will feature former international and World Cup player Gianluca Vialli.