Turner, NBA Team with Cinedigm

Turner Sports, The National Basketball Association and Cinedigm Digital Cinema will team up to broadcast TNT's coverage of "NBA All-Star Saturday Night" in live 3-D to 80 digitally equipped theaters across the United States. Scheduled for Feb. 14, the broadcast will play on as many as 160 screens in 35 states, reaching as many as 45,000 consumers. Other events to be aired that day include the slam dunk and three-point shooting contests, and tickets will cost $18 to $22.

The event represents the first-ever fully marketed deal to deliver an NBA sporting event to the public in live 3-D. Participating theater chains include Carmike Cinemas, Celebration Cinemas, Cinema West, Emagine, Galaxy Theatres, Marquee Cinemas, MJR, NCG, Rave Motion Pictures, Showcase and UltraStar Cinema.

"NBA All-Star Saturday Night," which also be broadcast live on TNT at 8 p.m. ET will feature the league's top-players in such events as: Haeir Shooting Stars, with San Antonio players David Robinson, Tim Duncan and Becky Hammon; PlayStation Skills Challenge, with Utah Jazz guard Deron Williams; Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout, with Toronto Raptors forward Jason Kapono; and Sprite Slam Dunk, with Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.

"We want to be progressive. We want to be involved in future technologies," NBA vice president of engineering Mike Rokosa said in a telephone interview. "It's a theatrical display technology today. Tomorrow, it's going to be in the home," he added. "We're looking that far down the road."

Sports leagues are looking for new revenue streams as existing sales come under pressure during the recession, while theater chains are searching for new ways to use screens during off-peak hours. In October, the NBA said it was seeing softness in early season-ticket sales and announced plans to cut 80 jobs, or about 9 percent of its workforce.

The event will employ Cinedigm's CineLive technology, which enables live 2-D and 3-D streaming currently to more than 80 theater complexes with more than 160 3-D screens in the U.S. Cinedigm expects to further expand its CineLive network throughout 2009 to at least 150 locations.

By Gregg Kilday, The Hollywood Reporter