With the television industry buzzing over the possibilities of bringing 3D HD pictures to the living room as it heads to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, cable sports giant ESPN (NYSE: DIS) has gotten a jump on the field by announcing that it will launch a 3D television network, ESPN 3D, this year.
The 3D network, which ESPN calls the industry’s first (there may be a European satellite operator that claims otherwise), will feature a minimum of 85 live sporting events in its first year, starting with the first 2010 FIFA World Cup match on June 11 featuring South Africa vs. Mexico.
Other events to be produced in 3D include up to 25 2010 FIFA World Cup matches, Summer X Games, college basketball, and college football, which will include the BCS National Championship game in Glendale, Ariz., January 10, 2011. ESPN, which did not provide any details over which pay-TV operators would carry the service, said additional events will be announced at a later date.
ESPN’s 3D push should boost the prospects for new 3D HD TV sets that consumer electronics manufacturers will be showing at CES this week and selling at retail later this year. There has already been speculation that DirecTV (NYSE: DTV) will use a new satellite to launch a 3D network, though DirecTV hasn’t announced any such plans. More at B&C.