Sports go HD on ABC, ESPN

Broadcast network ABC and sports-focused ESPN will both carry more sporting events in high definition in 2003.

ABC will broadcast the Super Bowl, some NBA Finals games and the NHL's Stanley Cup games on HDTV, starting with the Superbowl in January 2003. The 2003-2004 season of "Monday Night Football" will also be carried in HDTV. Meanwhile, ESPN will roll out ESPN HD, a high-definition simulcast service of its premier network ESPN, in April 2003.

In its first year, ESPN HD will include HD broadcasts of professional baseball, football, basketball and hockey. In 2003 and 2004 the simulcast will also show live college championship events such as the Women's Final Four and the ACC Men's Basketball Tournament, and ESPN original programming like the X Games, the Great Outdoor Games and the ESPY Awards. In 2004, most studio shows, including SportsCenter, will be added to the hi-def lineup.

All high-definition programming on ESPN HD will be delivered to cable systems and satellite providers in the 720p format. ESPN will digitally convert the rest of the existing ESPN signal to 720p for viewing on high-definition television sets.