ESPN 3D Hits 40 Million Homes with AT&T U-verse Carriage Deal

ESPN has landed a third distribution deal for its new 3D network, ESPN 3D, agreeing to a carriage pact with AT&T U-verse. The deal arrives just in time for the network’s debut on Friday with a 2010 FIFA World Cup match between South Africa and Mexico.

In addition to AT&T U-verse, Comcast and DirecTV will carry ESPN 3D, which plans to deliver 25 World Cup matches and nearly 100 live sporting events in the next year. With the addition of AT&T U-verse, ESPN 3D will now reach more than 40 million homes, according to ESPN.

“Because of our advanced IP technology, AT&T U-verse customers can be confident that they’ll have access to the latest TV innovations — whether it’s your favorite content across your devices, interactive apps, or 3DTV,” says Dan York, president of content, AT&T. “With ESPN 3D, U-verse TV customers can experience the highly anticipated 2010 FIFA World Cup for the first time ever in exciting 3D, and we’re looking forward to delivering more ESPN 3D coverage throughout the year.”

ESPN 3D will be available on all AT&T U-verse HD customers’ existing receivers, without any additional setup or equipment upgrades. Subscribers will also need a 3D-ready TV set and 3D glasses. HD users can gain access to ESPN 3D via a subscription to AT&T U-verse’s 3-D Technology Package for $10 a month. Subscribers will also have full DVR capability, allowing them to record ESPN 3D content and play it back in 3D at any time.

ESPN 3D’s South Africa-Mexico World Cup match on June 11 will be the network’s first telecast, but ESPN will take the feed from Host Broadcast Services rather than producing the games themselves. The first ESPN-produced 3D program on ESPN 3D will be the 2010 State Farm Home Run Derby on July 12. Among the events also on the yet-to-be-finalized slate are X Games 16, the ACC football championship, the 2011 BCS National Championship, Winter X Games 15, and a variety of college basketball events, including the Big East Tournament, the Jimmy V Classic, and the Old Spice Classic.

“ESPN and U-verse TV are pleased to bring fans nearly 100 exciting, groundbreaking 3D sports events in the next year,” says David C. Preschlack, EVP, affiliate sales and marketing, Disney & ESPN Networks Group. “From the first match of the 2010 FIFA World Cup to college sports, the NBA, and more, U-verse customers will be able to see it all in dynamic 3D on ESPN 3D.”

In addition to 3D coverage, AT&T and ESPN are also offering U-verse customers a free 2010 FIFA World Cup app, which includes a multiview that lets subscribers watch up to four ESPN channels at one time and also displays athlete bios, groupings, and updated team standings on the user’s TV screen.

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