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ESPN Revs Up HD, Web Content

9/01/2004 9:30 AM Eastern

ESPN will rev up its HDTV production in 2005, when it will present some 6,000 hours covering 2,000 programs in the format.

At an ESPN 25 media symposium here, ESPN HD chief Bryan Burns said the network will present 300 live events, more than double the 145 planned for this year.

Elsewhere, ESPN.com editor Neal Scarbrough said a revamped Sports Nation (http://sports.espn.go.com/chat/sportsnation/index) — the Web site’s fan meeting place — will be unveiled on Sept. 8. The application will look to draw “appointment chatting” with athletes and ESPN talent, beginning that day with SportsCenter and ESPN Radio anchor Dan Patrick.

“The area will also become an instant message board of sorts, if there was a verdict in the Kobe Bryant trial,” said Scarbrough.

At ESPN Broadband, many changes are in the works for a revised platform that will be unveiled early next year. One change viewers will see in the meantime: live Webcasts, including four World Cup of Hockey qualifying games this weekend.

ESPN Broadband and Interactive general manager Tanya Vancourt said National Collegiate Athletic Association football and basketball games will be Web cast this fall.

Vancourt said ESPN Broadband apparently has 13 affiliates, including Charter Communications Inc., Adelphia Communications Inc. and Susquehanna Communications.

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