ESPN will begin a year-long project in January called "Year of the Quarterback," it announced at its upfront presentation on Tuesday.
Also on the channel’s docket: a new, social-media-based show for ESPNU, the launch of ESPN Deportes and a series of brand integrations.
Featuring commentaries by former NFL players Steve Young, Trent Dilfer, Ron Jaworski and Jerry Rice, among others, "Year of the Quarterback" will include all of the channel’s platforms — including TV, ESPN the Magazine and mobile — to present reports and analysis on what it calls the "mysteries, myths and legends of the quarterback position."
Called "U:Nite," ESPNU’s new show will launch in the spring of 2011 and air nightly. Social media will play a key role in the show, which will talk to students and fans "in their own voice," ESPN said. The show will air both live in-studio and via remotes at or near college campuses and will feature sports, music and entertainment guests.
ESPN Deportes will launch in the first quarter of 2011 "Nacion ESPN," a Spanish-language sports television show fueled by fan interaction and modeled after ESPN’s "SportsNation," which premiered this year.
ESPN has also signed a two-year agreement with Playdom, a social gaming company, that will offer games with a ESPN brand integrations. It marks the network’s first presence in the social gaming space. The network is also offering new applications for the iPhone.
Also at the presentation, the channel gave more details on the 25 World Cup matches it plans to televise on its new 3D network, which launches June 11 to coincide with the beginning of the FIFA tournament in South Africa.
Among the countries whose matches will be shown in 3D are the United States, Brazil, Germany, Italy and Spain.
As was previously announced, DirecTV and Comcast will distribute the 3D network.