ESPN going 3D on DirecTV


Not many people have 3D receivers yet, but DirecTV is making a move to snare them as customers. The satellite TV company announced that it will debut ESPN 3D in June.

The launch will coincide with ESPN’s 3D broadcasts of the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches. The first, on June 11th, will feature South Africa vs. Mexico.

DirecTV said it will add ESPN 3D, the industry’s first 3D sports television network, to its upcoming 3D lineup that will offer three dedicated 3D channels, including DirecTV’s newly named linear 3D channel, N3D powered by Panasonic. Launching in June, millions of DirecTV HD customers will have access to ESPN’s entire 3D programming lineup, including up to 25 2010 FIFA World Cup matches.

ESPN 3D is scheduled to showcase a minimum of 85 live sporting events during its first year, In addition to the 2010 FIFA World Cup matches, other events to be produced in 3D include X Games 16, 2010 college football ACC Championship, 2011 BCS National Championship game, college basketball and NBA games in 2011. DirecTV HD customers who subscribe to ESPN will receive ESPN 3D at no additional cost.

“Watching ESPN’s comprehensive lineup of sports programming in 3D will be like having your own virtual seat at all of your favorite sporting events around the world. We are excited to be the first and only distributor to announce the launch of ESPN 3D and we look forward to announcing additional 3D partners throughout the year,” said Eric Shanks, Executive Vice President, DirecTV Entertainment.

“ESPN and DirecTV recognize the groundswell effect 3D has already had on the television industry in the last few months. This agreement is the first step in providing sports fans access to exciting, dynamic content, as well as providing our affiliates new opportunities to provide cutting-edge product offerings to their subscribers,” said David C. Preschlack, Executive Vice President, Affiliate Sales and Marketing, Disney & ESPN Networks Group.

In addition to N3D powered by Panasonic, which will deliver the 3D programming from programmers such as AEG/AEG Digital Media, CBS, Fox Sports/FSN, Golden Boy Promotions, HDNet, MTV, NBC Universal and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., DirecTV will also offer a 24/7 3D pay per view channel and a 24/7 3D DirecTV on Demand channel, beginning this June.

DirecTV HD customers will receive a free software upgrade in June enabling them to have access to the 3D channels on DirecTV. The company notes that DirecTV HD customers will need a 3D television set and 3D glasses to view 3D programming on DirecTV.