USA Today reports that ESPN is launching a 3-D channel in June 2010 that will air at least 85 sports events in its first year. The channel, creatively called ESPN 3-D, will air as its first program a World Cup soccer match between South Africa and Mexico.
Soccer might not be the best inaugural program, because so much of the game on TV is long shots showing large portions of the playing field -- that's simply how the game is viewed, with only short closeups. Compare that to baseball, which has tons of closeups but of course only bursts of action. Nonetheless, basketball, college football, and the Summer X Games are also slated to air on ESPN 3-D, so we'll get a chance to see how each fares in this format.
How confident is ESPN in the new channel? Mixed, if you ask me. USA Today says the company has only committed to the channel for one year -- hardly enough time for a channel to build an audience, especially when that audience needs high-end televisions and has to wear special glasses.
On the other hand, "ESPN has been testing ESPN 3D for more than two years, even showing a USC-Ohio State college football game in select theaters and to 6,000 fans at the Galen Center on USC's campus," according to ESPN's own report on the development.
I'm looking forward to the soccer match between the earthlings and the Na'vi.