A lack of interest in 3D viewing at home has claimed one of its first major victims today, as ESPN announced its 3D channel is going to shut down. ESPN 3D launched back in 2010 with coverage of the FIFA World Cup, but it will not make it to the next one, or to see ESPN's new Monday Night Football deal. In between it's broadcast everything from golf to the X Games to the NBA Finals, along with college football national championship games and and a one-off news spot on E:60. AT&T's U-verse dropped the channel in August 2011 after being one of the launch partners, but said it would come back due to a new agreement signed earlier this year. ESPN overcame many technology and cost hurdles to broadcasting 3D over the years, but in the end the chilly reception from the marketplace for 3D at home appears to have been too much to overcome. Another element that likely affected it were recent layoffs by parent company Disney, that Multichannel News reports included some jobs associated with ESPN 3D.
So what's next for ESPN? According to a statement, "committing our 3D resources to other products and services that will better serve fans and affiliates." That should include the 4K capabilities planned for its new facility in Bristol, but we'll have to wait until it opens next year to find out. For now ESPN says it will be ready to provide 3D content again "if or when" the viewing format takes off -- the release of another Avatar flick or TVs that don't need glasses for 3D might help -- now the question is if / when other early efforts like n3D and 3net could also be shelved.
ESPN3D discontinued by year end. Even with strong production, a lack of demand from majority of consumers. Thanks for your loyalty.- ESPN 3D (@ESPN3D) June 12, 2013