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ABC, ESPN to Air World Cup in HD

ABC and ESPN will broadcast their fourth straight World Cup soccer tournament next summer, this time with all 64 games in HD. The World Cup--the most televised sporting event in the world--will be aired in HD in other parts of the globe, as well, notably via BSkyB in Europe and Premiere, a German pay-TV service.

All matches will be played in Germany from June 9-July 9, and will be broadcast live. For the last World Cup in 2002 (in Japan and South Korea), 58 games were televised live, with only the final match on ABC, 16 on ESPN and the rest on ESPN2. (World Cup viewers may recall because of the 13-hour time difference to the American East Coast, many games were aired during the middle of the night in the United States)

At least 20 HD cameras (no equipment specs yet) will be used for each game by the host broadcaster. ABC and ESPN, both owned by Disney, plan to have their announcers on-site for a majority of the games, but they will also do some play-by-play from studios in America. The ABC networks will not decide until after the draw of team match-ups in early December how to split the HD games among ABC, ESPN and ESPN2.