DirecTV Inc.'s long-expected new high-definition sports channel -- backed
by former Internet mogul Mark Cuban -- will debut this week, sources said.
The service, called HDNet, is slated to debut Thursday with the telecast of a
Minnesota Twins-Texas Rangers Major League Baseball game. More than 12 baseball
games are expected to follow before the end of the season.
The network will also feature select National Hockey League games, as well as
qualifying events for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. Between sporting events,
the full-time network will round out its lineup with concerts, documentaries and
other entertainment programming.
reported the DirecTV-Cuban plan in January.
Because Cuban (who founded Internet-streaming company Broadcast.com, now part
of Yahoo! Inc.) owns the National Basketball Association's Dallas Mavericks,
it's expected that NBA games may be added to HDNet's lineup later in the
HDNet will replace the high-definition demo channel on DirecTV's lineup.
DirecTV also carries Home Box Office and select pay-per-view movies in HDTV
EchoStar Communications Corp.'s Dish Network carries
HBO, Showtime and CBS in HDTV, as well as select PPV movies.