ESPN 3D goes 24-7

BRISTOL, CONN.: Eight months after launching, ESPN 3D will program a constant stream of stereoscopic content starting today. The schedule up to now has consisted of around 60 live events, the recorded versions of which will henceforth be repeated in rotation with ongoing live coverage.

“As we continue to expand the number of 3D events on the channel, it made sense operationally to transition ESPN 3D to a 24-7 network,” ESPN’s Sean Bratches said during January’s Consumer Electronics Show, when the schedule change was announced. “We've been very pleased with the rate at which our affiliates have adopted ESPN 3D in its first year.”

ESPN had contracts in place by last November that provided the 3D network access to 62.5 million U.S. cable and satellite homes. A network executive said the take rate exceeded that of ESPN’s high-definition network, one of the first HD cable nets out of the gate. ESPN 3D carriers include the big ones--Comcast, Time Warner Cable and DirecTV. TelcoTV provider AT&T also picked up ESPN 3D for U-Verse, and Verizon intends to add it to FiOS this year.

The network was launched last June with stereoscopic coverage of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Subsequent telecasts have included NBA games the BCS national championship game and four days of the Winter X Games. Tonight’s live events include the “Friday Night Fights,” and the NBA’s match pitting Orlando Magic against Oklahoma City Thunder.

-- Deborah D. McAdams