|ESPN, The Worldwide Leader in Sports, and Comcast Cable, the country's leading broadband and cable communications provider, announced today that they have entered into an agreement for distribution of ESPN HD. Beginning this month, Comcast will make ESPN HD available in markets where it currently offers HDTV service as well as on a broader level as additional HD markets are launched this year. Additional details of the agreement were not announced.
"As the number one sports television brand in America, we are very pleased that ESPN HD will soon be available to Comcast's customer base and its growing audience of high-definition customers," said George Bodenheimer, President of ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports. "Sports fans are enjoying access to more and more high-definition content, and we are thrilled to work with Comcast, a leader in the HD arena, to offer them this compelling sports experience."
Added Steve Burke, President of Comcast Cable, "We are pleased to be able to bring our customers outstanding content from ESPN with all the sights, sounds and unbelievable detail of sports programming that only an HDTV signal can provide. The addition of ESPN HD demonstrates our continuing commitment to provide our customers with the most robust high-definition content possible."
One of the first cable companies to offer HDTV, Comcast launched it on systems in the Philadelphia market in 2001. Comcast now offers HDTV service to 11.5 million customers in Little Rock, AR; Huntsville, AL; Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento and Stockton, CA; Danbury, CT; Fort Myers, Naples, Tampa -Sarasota and Jacksonville, FL; Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Indianapolis, IN; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Detroit and Flint, MI; Kansas City, MO; Central and Northern New Jersey; Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA; Nashville and Knoxville, TN; Seattle, WA; and Washington, DC. The company's compelling HD programming line-up includes local broadcasters, PBS stations, HBO and Showtime as well as Comcast SportsNet in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.-Baltimore. In markets where Comcast offers local ABC affiliates' HD signals, viewers will be able to enjoy NFL Monday Night Football coverage in high definition as well as NFL Sunday Night Football coverage on ESPN HD.
ESPN made a significant commitment to spur the growth of high-definition television on March 30, 2003, when it debuted ESPN HD, the first 24-hour high-definition national sports service in the country. Sports have proven to be the ideal showcase for the HDTV viewing experience and ESPN HD features all of the live, high-profile telecasts as ESPN, including games from Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, and the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship.
ESPN, Inc., The Worldwide Leader in Sports, is the leading multinational, multimedia sports entertainment company featuring the broadest portfolio of multimedia sports assets with over 40 business entities. The company is comprised of seven domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Deportes (launching soon), ESPN Now, ESPN Today), ESPN HD ( a high-definition simulcast service of ESPN), ESPN Regional Television, ESPN International (25 international networks and syndication), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, SportsTicker, ESPN Enterprises, ESPN Zones (sports-themed restaurants), and other growing new businesses including ESPN Broadband, ESPN Wireless, ESPN Video-on-Demand, ESPN Interactive and ESPN PPV. Based in Bristol, Ct., ESPN is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN.
About Comcast Cable
Headquartered in Philadelphia, Comcast Cable is a division of Comcast Corporation, a developer, manager and operator of broadband cable networks and provider of programming content. Operating in 17 of the United States' 20 largest metropolitan areas, Comcast is one of the leading communications, media and entertainment companies in the world. Providing basic cable, Digital Cable, high-speed Internet and telephone services, Comcast is the company to look to first for the communications products and services that connect people to what's important in their lives. The company's 55,000 employees, in six divisions, serve more than 21 million customers.