ESPN to Televise NBA Finals in 3D, Expand 3D Coverage of Masters

“Worldwide Leader” ramping up 3D network offerings — including the broadcast of a Par 3 contest

Last Updated: February 24, 2011 @ 10:37 AM

ESPN's fledgling 3D network — which went to 24/7 programming earlier this month — is ramping up its programming schedule. The "Worldwide Leader" announced on Thursday that it will expand its 3D coverage of the Masters golf tournament to five days in April, and will broadcast the NBA Finals in 3D in June.

ESPN launched its 3D network during the 2010 Masters — held annually at the Georgia's Augusta National Golf Club — making it the first major sporting event to be produced and broadcast in 3D live.

This year, ESPN will televise a total of 10 hours of 3D golf at the Masters: two hours from each of the four rounds (April 7-10) as well as the Masters Par 3 contest scheduled on Wednesday, April 6.

In addition to ESPN 3D, ESPN has a ton of Masters coverage planned: 4.5 hours per day of first and second-round play on ESPN, ESPN HD and ESPN Deportes on Thursday and Friday, "SportsCenter at the Masters" and live coverage of the Par 3 Contest on Wednesday, extensive online coverage and "a special 43-hour Masters tribute on ESPN Classic."

Meanwhile, ESPN announced it would broadcast the NBA Finals in 3D for the first time.

ESPN televised the first NBA game in 3D (LeBron James' Miami Heat vs. the New York Knicks) on Dec. 17, and has shown six NBA games in 3D since.

ESPN will also air six NBA playoff games, including three during the Western Conference Finals, in 3D.

The NBA Finals are slated to begin June 2.

ESPN 3D is currently available in the U.S. in 62.5 million households, with carriage agreements on AT&T U-Verse, Comcast, DIRECTV and Time Warner Cable. A deal with Verizon FiOS is in the works, ESPN says.