ESPNU To Kick Off In HD Next August

ESPNU will become the fourth ESPN network to go the high-definition route, when it kicks off coverage of the 2008 college football season.

The college sports service, which currently counts some 20 million subscribers through deals with Charter, Cox, DirecTV, Dish Network Network, AT&T’s U-Verse, Insight Communications, Mediacom, Time Warner Cable and Verizon’s FiOS TV, among others, will begin telecasting in the HD format on Aug. 28, 2008, according to George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports.

Projected to air more than 200 HD events in its first year, ESPNU HD, in addition to presenting college football action in the enhanced signal format, will present basketball, lacrosse, baseball, softball, volleyball, wrestling and hockey contests. In addition, ESPNU HD will offer encore presentations from ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD and ABC HD college sports content.  The shift to HD will also allow for additional sponsorship opportunities on the network, said network officials.

 “The launch of ESPNU HD will give college sports fans an outstanding viewing experience, and will add to ESPN’s leading lineup of high definition services, including ESPN HD, ESPN2 HD and ESPNEWS HD,” said Burke Magnus, vice president and general manager, ESPNU, in a statement. "ESPNU’s rapid growth has responded to the passion of college sports fans and we are thrilled to bring them all the excitement of college athletics in HD.”

ESPN HD reaches more than 15 million subscribers and is available to more than 91 million homes, while ESPN2 HD reaches almost 11 million subscribers and is available to more than 76 million homes.