News that will gladden Representative Billy Tauzin (Republican, Louisiana), chairman of the House Commerce Committee and rambunctious champion of US digital broadcasting. Someone out there is listening to you, Billy!

Disney-owned sports broadcaster ESPN will launch a digital high definition TV service as of April 2003, simulcasting a total of one hundred live Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Football League and National Hockey League games alongside its existing analog service.

The new service, branded ESPN HD, will also telecast a variety of other sports programming in dTV. Says ESPN president George Bodenheimer: “Sports will be a key driver of HDTV and it is only fitting that ESPN plays a leadership role in serving our fans, affiliates, advertisers and rights holders in advancing the adoption of digital technology.”

Not to be outdone, ESPN sister-company ABC will go digital for the Super Bowl XXXVll in January, and the NBA and Stanley Cup finals next June.

ABC, in partnership with Zenith Electronics, is currently telecasting most of its primetime schedule, including all scripted shows, in dTV.

Data sourced from: (USA); additional content by WARC staff