At the National Cable Telecommunications Association conference in LA this week, ESPN announced it has signed its first cable distribution deal with Comcast to air ESPN 3D, a cable network that will air live 3-D coverage of key sporting events throughout the year, beginning with the World Cup on 6/11.
The network is expected to launch in key Comcast markets in June and will be distributed across Comcast’s full digital footprint of 18.9 million homes later this summer.
The Comcast announcement follows ESPN’s earlier deal with satellite provider DirecTV. Sean Bratches, ESPN’s EVP/Sales and Marketing, said the network is in active discussions with other distribution partners as well. He added, according to AdAge, that all commercial inventory on ESPN 3D will be shot in 3-D, converted from 2-D.
In addition to the World Cup, ESPN has committed to airing 85 to 100 events in 3-D over the next year, including the X Games (July 16 to Aug. 1), college basketball’s Old Spice Classic (Nov. 25-28), the 2011 BCS National Championship Game (Jan. 10, 2011) and college basketball’s Big East Tournament (March 8-12, 2011).
Comcast also announced a new iPad app that would enable viewers to program their TVs from their Wifi-enabled iPads and invite friends to virtual viewing parties.