It’s Official: Sony, FIFA to Test Live 4K During Three Confederations Cup Matches

FIFA: $600 million
Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images

NBCUniversal's Telemundo outbid incumbent Univision for U.S. Spanish-language rights to FIFA World Cup soccer in an eight-year, $600 million deal that commences in 2015.

Sony and FIFA have announced that they will test 4K production during three matches at the FIFA Confederations Cup, which begins June 6 in Brazil.

The Hollywood Reporter’s Behind the Screen previously reported that these testing plans were in motion.

During the Confederations Cup, Sony and FIFA will produce three matches in 4K using a newly built 4K mobile production unit supplied by UK-based production company Telegenic.

The trial will take place at the Estadio Mineiro in Belo Horizonte, one of six stadiums being used for this year’s tournament, and will test the process involved in shooting and delivering live 4K programming.

The content itself will not be screened for the public, as the test is aimed at examining the technical and creative aspects of using the technology, with an eye toward bringing 4K broadcasts to future sporting events.

Sony and FIFA have been eyeing the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil for 4K broadcasting, and the Confederations Cup is a logical dress rehearsal.

“The FIFA Confederations Cup is a perfect opportunity to trial new technology and production approaches to 4K, and we look forward to seeing how this tournament will help to shape the future of sports broadcasting," said Niclas Ericson, director of FIFA’s TV division, in a statement.

Added Mark Grinyer, head of business development for 3D, 4K and sports at Sony: “While various aspects of 4K broadcasting have been built and tried before, this trial will be a first in terms of the scope of production.”

2014 is the last year of Sony’s eight-year, $305 million sponsorship of FIFA, and its professional services arm is the primary technical partner for host broadcaster HBS at next year’s World Cup.

Sony used the 2010 World Cup as a platform to test and promote 3D broadcasting, spending more than $10 million to produce 25 matches from South Africa 2010 in a separate 3D production.

Sony additionally plans to test 4K production at Wimbledon, which begins June 24.