As expected, cable giant Comcast has agreed to carry ESPN's new stereoscopic 3D channel, ESPN 3D, keeping pace with satellite operator DirecTV, which agreed to carry the service in late March.
Comcast is the first cable operator to carry the new network, which launches on June 11 with World Cup coverage and will include nearly 100 events in its first year. In addition, Comcast and ESPN will provide customers access to select ESPN 3D events on VOD.
"As a leader in the distribution of innovative content, it's fitting that Comcast is the first cable distributor for ESPN 3D," said George Bodenheimer, co-chairman, Disney Media Networks, and president, ESPN and ABC Sports, in a statement. "This agreement demonstrates ESPN's and Comcast's shared commitment to bring the latest viewing experience to sports fans."
Comcast has been experimenting with anaglyph 3D VOD content for several years and carried its first stereoscopic 3D content last month with a live telecast of The Masters golf tournament, which was produced by ESPN and also carried by a number of cable operators.
"ESPN was a pioneer in HD, and continues to move the industry forward with the first 3D sports network," added Brian L. Roberts, chairman and CEO, Comcast Corporation. "We delivered the first live national 3D sports event to consumers homes earlier this year with the Masters Tournament and believe that 3D sports will drive the adoption of this technology and continue to revolutionize how we deliver entertainment."
ESPN 3D will sign on the air June 11 with the first 2010 FIFA World Cup match featuring South Africa versus Mexico. ESPN 3D will feature up to 25 matches throughout the World Cup. Along with college football and NBA games, schedule highlights for the new network include:
-X Games 16, July 28-Aug. 1
-College basketball's Old Spice Classic, Nov. 25-28
-College football's ACC Championship on Dec. 4
-Jimmy V Classic on Dec. 7
-2011 BCS National Championship game Jan. 10, 2011
-X Games 15, Jan. 27-30, 2011
-College basketball's Big East Tournament, March 8-12, 2011