New York – The ABC Television Network will broadcast the Super Bowl in high-definition format this year, and also plans HDTV coverage of the National Basketball Association finals and the Stanley Cup this season.
In addition, the network said it would broadcast the 2003-2004 season of ‘Monday Night Football’ in HDTV.
At the same time, sister network ESPN announced plans to provide a high-definition simulcast service of its premier network ESPN starting in April of 2003. ESPN HD will include in its first year 100 live HDTV telecasts games from Major League Baseball, the NBA, the National Football League (NFL), and the National Hockey League (NHL).
Like the ABC Broadcast Network, ESPN will transmit its HDTV telecasts in the 720p format. Disney owns both networks.
George Bodenheimer, ESPN president, said the HDTV channel would be offered to both cable and satellite providers.
In addition ESPN will carry in HDTV a variety of ESPN Original Entertainment proprietary programming including the X Games, Great Outdoors Games programming and the ESPY Awards
Other ESPN HD events will include live college championship events including the Women’s Final Four and the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament.
ABC, meanwhile, will air Super Bowl XXXVII on Jan. 26, 2003, from San Diego, CA. The NBA finals are scheduled for June 4-18, 2003, and the Stanley Cup for May 31-June 9, 2003.
‘Live sporting events provide the best platform to showcase the dramatic benefits of high definition television,’ said Alex Wallau, ABC president.
ABC currently broadcasts the majority of its film-based primetime schedule, in the HDTV 720p format. Zenith sponsors the HDTV primetime lineup.