Thursday
Jan072010

ESPN, Sony Sign Exclusive Deal To Support 3D Network Launch, Sports Events

January 7, 2010: Hot on the heels of unveiling its aggressive plans to launch a 3D network, ESPN said that Sony has signed a deal to become an exclusive sponsor, and also to be the exclusive 3D sponsor of  the 2011 BCS National Championship Game next January as well as numerous other 3D telecasts. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal was disclosed at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where Sony also  launched a line of 3D Full HD 1080P high frame rate Bravia TVs. Sony, which already has produced a series of 3D films and live sports events for ESPN and others, said it plans to install about 11,000 of its 4K digital cinema projection systems in the U.S. over the next few years, with about 3,000 of those systems equipped for 3D.

ESPN this week said it would launch ESPN 3D in June during its coverage of the FIFA World Cup and that it plans to have about 85 events broadcast in 3D over the next year. In addition to the 2011 BCS National Championship Game, Sony is now the exclusive ESPN 3D sponsor of 13 regular season college football games and the 2010 Summer X Games, where ESPN will utilize Sony HD cameras. 

Analysts have said that several obstacles remain in ramping up 3D to a mass audience, including consumers needing to buy either a new TV or attachment that is 3D accessible and also getting comfortable wearing 3D glasses at home while they watch the events.

Both ESPN and Sony believe this will happen.

“ESPN and Sony have a long history together, and we share a passion for innovation and bringing customers cutting-edge products and content, which this union demonstrates,” Sean Bratches, evp-sales and marketing for ESPN, said during the announcement with Sony.  “The launch of ESPN 3D is a great way to offer our advertisers unique marketing opportunities, and due to Sony’s continued leadership with 3D technology, this collaboration made perfect sense.”

According to Michael Fasulo, CMO for Sony Electronics, “With America’s passion for sports, ESPN is a great partner to deliver the 3D sports experience in consumers’ homes. Sony is excited to partner with ESPN to deliver sports in 3D in 2010.”

Obstacles In Sight As ESPN Adds 3D To Network Plans

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