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ESPN-HD Announces Cable Affiliates

BRISTOL, CONN. – ESPN-HD, the 24/7 high-definition simulcast service of ESPN, will launch March 30th on cable systems operated by Insight Communications, Cox Communications, the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), Service Electric Cable TV, Utilacom and Comporium Communications systems, the network announced.

ESPN said affiliated ESPN-HD cable systems combined serve over 22 million subscribers, However, not all territories of each company may be capable of HD carriage on the launch date.

ESPN said it would announce additional agreements over the next several weeks.

ESPN-HD will debut at 6:30 p.m. E.T. March 30, with Baseball Tonight, live from Anaheim, site of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast of the Texas Rangers at the World Series champion Anaheim Angels game at 8 p.m, ESPN-HD’s first HDTV game presentation.

Over the course of the year, ESPN-HD plans to carry HDTV productions of live, high-profile telecasts including games from Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championships.

“The rapidly growing base of HDTV users is hungry for more high-definition content, and ESPN is committed to providing them the compelling content they seek,” said Sean Bratches, ESPN executive VP, affiliate sales and marketing. “These affiliates, both large and small, have a long history of bringing customers innovative programming and services, and we are thrilled to provide a product that will generate substantial interest and demand in their markets.”