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Comcast Cuts First Carriage Deal for ESPN 3D

BRISTOL, CONN. and PHILADELPHIA, PENN.: Comcast becomes the first multichannel pay TV provider to reach a carriage agreement for ESPN’s planned 3D channel. Comcast has announced it will carry ESPN 3D on its Digital Cable tiers, becoming the first cable affiliate to sign on. ESPN plans to launch its 3D channel in June for the FIFA World Cup soccer championships games.

Comcast has been testing 3D in various forms; it’s carried feature films in anaglyph 3D, and collaborated with ESPN on doing the Masters golf tournament in live, non-anaglyph, stereoscopic 3D. Comcast will provide video-on-demand access to ESPN 3D content as well as the regular channel.

ESPN announced its intention to launch a 3D channel this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The Disney-owned sports franchise will go live with ESPN 3D June 11 with the World Cup match between South African and Mexico. The channel will carry up to 25 World Cup matches in 3D, in addition to college football games, National Basketball League coverage and the X Games in late July.

ESPN’s previous 3D events include the Masters, a February Harlem Globetrotters game, and the 2009 USC vs. Ohio State football game. Sony signed on as the sponsor of the 3D network when it was announced.
-- Deborah D. McAdams