Sports in HD, Why no ESPN?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by John Berggren, Sep 9, 2002.

  1. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    Although I'm not a sports fanatic (there is little I follow, and none on television), I have to imagine that HD sports would sell televisions. Why haven't the television manufacturers encouraged ESPN to make HD feeds of their current broadcasts?

    I had guests over last night who were utterly transfixed by HD Tennis on CBS, but dismayed when I informed them that I do not get ESPN in HD.
     
  2. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    Check out HDNet on DriectTV. Latest brainchild of Ron Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavs. This is mostly sports.
     
  3. Bruce Hedtke

    Bruce Hedtke Cinematographer

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    I don't understand this either. ESPN certainly has the finances and the clout, so why has there not been a single peep about HD? Strange.

     
  4. Michael St. Clair

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    For ESPN to launch an HD channel would cost about 1000X as much as HBO and Showtime spend on their HD channels.

    Showing HD movies is cheap, doesn't cost much more than showing regular movies.

    Producing dozens of sporting events a week (trucks, cameras, crew, infrastructure) would be REALLY, REALLY expensive.

    Advertisers are not yet willing to pay a premium for this.

    Primetime network shows are largely underwritten, and still really cheap to produce (that is, not much more than their regular productions)...almost every drama and sitcom was already being shot on film anyway!

    ESPN is taking a 'wait and see' approach and frankly I don't blame them.
     
  5. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    I certainly agree that their outlay would be more sigificant than that of Showtime or HBO. However, they could start out with an outlay not too much more significant than WRAL in NC, where they do HD newscasts. Or CBS where they do HD sporting events. They don't need o start with every event, but if they started with their biggest events and worked their way towards full HD, I think it would be very successful.
    Keep in mind this is coming from someone who won't necessarily watch ESPN (though I'm sure I'd host others doing so) but who would benefit from MORE channels following in ESPN's footsteps because ESPN will sell televisions.
    For this, I wonder that Sony, or other manufacturers that stand to gain, could enter into an agreement to encourage such ESPN programming. Cameras for ad spots, transmitters for sponsorship. Everyone wins in the end.
     
  6. Michael St. Clair

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  7. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

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    It would broadcast more than 1 or 2 events a week, but at the outset, 1 or 2 could be HD, and the rest a duplication of it's regular feed, upconverted if possible.

    They then add more hours of HD programming as resources allow, faster than they anticipated, I would bet.

    Most of these HD channels start off with 1 or 2 hours of HD and the rest SD content. Very few of them have 24x7 HD. It's a process, and it has to start somewhere.
     
  8. gregstaten

    gregstaten Supporting Actor

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    I have a bit of inside info on ESPN's HD plans.

    They are not currently producing anything in HD but have begun looking into HD production and post-production equipment. That said, I expect it will be at least a year or two until they do any HD product.

    -greg
     
  9. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

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    I thought I had read over at avsforum.com that ESPN had started construction this late spring/early summer on new buildings that will house HDTV capable studios and production facilities.
     
  10. David Hicks

    David Hicks Stunt Coordinator

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    I would GLADLY pay a monthly premium for ESPN HD! DirecTV charges $12/mo for the HBO package...ESPN in HD would easily be worth that to most sports fans.
     
  11. John Tillman

    John Tillman Supporting Actor

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  12. Paul W

    Paul W Second Unit

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  13. Michael St. Clair

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  14. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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