ESPN Acquires Sports Tech Firm Vistas Unlimited

Cable sports giant ESPN has acquired Vistas Unlimited, Inc., a Plano, Tex.-based technology development company that supplies virtual insertion technology which can be used to insert advertisements or graphic enhancements into live coverage of various sports including golf, basketball, hockey and rodeo. ESPN said the deal will boost the network's use of virtual technology across its various platforms.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, though ESPN said it will continue to employ a majority of Vistas' employees.

"This acquisition represents ESPN's dedication to staying at the forefront of innovation and technology development," said ESPN EVP of technology Chuck Pagano in a statement. "The team that is joining ESPN brings a wealth of knowledge on developing cutting-edge virtual components that enhance the fan's enjoyment of a game telecast."

Vistas Unlimited won the George Wensel Technical Achievement Award at the 29th Annual Sports Emmy Awards in 2008 for its "AimPoint" system, which is used by The Golf Channel to analyze putting on PGA and LPGA broadcasts. AimPoint paints a virtual "blue line" on the green showing the optimal path a ball would follow on its way to the cup, and lets viewers compare the actual path a ball takes after a putt is struck.