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Sears, Samsung, CBS Teaming Up On HDTV Football

Samsung, Sears and CBS announced they will join forces to offer college football games in HDTV this fall.

Under the plan, Samsung and Sears will join CBS in promoting its HDTV productions, marking the first time a full season of college football is broadcast in HDTV.

To play up the programs, Samsung and Sears will jointly offer an “HDTV Game Day” promotion, in which all of Sears’ full-line stores will show a game each week during the regular season on a Samsung HDTV.

Sears stores will receive the game over the air, if the signal is available, or via EchoStar’s DISH Network, which as previously reported has arranged to carry the East and West Coast CBS HDTV feeds to eligible subscribers.

Sources familiar with the deal said it, in part, dovetailed with the agreement that enabled EchoStar to carry the CBS HD stations, since Sears is an exclusive EchoStar retailer.

Under that arrangement, CBS provides access to either the New York or Los Angeles HDTV stations via Dish to certain EchoStar subscribers: those living in markets with CBS owned and operated stations or in areas that have no over-the-air reception, or those who get an exemption from an independently owned CBS affiliate in their market.

The HDTV televised football schedule will start Sept. 15 with Tennessee at Florida and will conclude with the Army/Navy game on Dec. 1. The schedule also includes the annual battle between Florida and Florida State Nov. 17.

CBS executive VP Martin Franks told TWICE that because the network only has two HDTV production trucks, which will be assigned to cover the Saturday games, it is unlikely that any NFL games will be televised in HDTV during the 2001 college season schedule.

However, special games and post-season NFL coverage in HDTV are still a possibility for future announcements, he said.