Technology to kick World Cup into high gear

Canadian audience will have access to six feeds, streaming

TORONTO -- CBC sports executive producer Trevor Pilling expects Canadian coverage of the World Cup soccer tournament from Friday to be driven as much by technology as tribalism.

"We're a nation of immigrants. So we have a great (Canadian) audience, with a great passion for the sport," Pilling said Wednesday from his CBC control room in Toronto.

As the CBC gets set to air all 64 matches during the monthlong South African tournament in HD, and stream games to desk-bound workers via, the public broadcaster is also betting Canadians will come to its digital party.

Pilling and his crew will deliver play-by-play World Cup to Canadians via six independent live feeds from South African game venues.

These include one main game feed with a backup in case the data flowing across fiber-optic cables from Africa to Canada fails at any point, two end zone feeds and two player-isolation shots to focus in on star players on rival teams.

The isolation feeds will switch to a different team player every half-hour.

All of which is fueling expectations that the World Cup will secure HD's place in Canadian living rooms.

"You could be watching the game on HD, and at the same time have independent angles open on your computer screen," Pilling said.

Canadians also will get access to the final two World Cup matches in 3D. And just in case the CBC can't reach Canadians over its host of new digital platforms and social media, it will provide a live radio broadcast the last four games from the tournament.

The beautiful game will also get blanket coverage countrywide from Friday, aside from the CBC offerings.

For fans on the go, cable and mobile giant Rogers Communications has an exclusive deal to stream games to its smartphone subscribers for a $15 fee, and data usage.

Then there's the iPhone and iPod apps to drive mobile marketing. The CBC has its own app, as does cable sports broadcaster Score Media, which plans a raft of video highlights of the tournament on its ScoreMobile FC app.

Backed by all this technology, Pilling expects Canadian viewership of the World Cup to grow like a wave as the 31-day tournament culminates in the final game on July 11.

"The ability to consume the World Cup, in the comfort of your home or in your office at work, or on the street on the phone, to get the tournament to people in all kinds of different ways, that helps to create more and more passion round the sport," he said.
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