ESPN’s HD 'Blitz’

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ESPN has cut an unusual deal with DirecTV Inc. to help the top satellite-TV provider market high-definition programming.

The hosts of Mike and Mike in the Morning, televised on ESPNews and broadcast via ESPN Radio, unveiled a promotion last Thursday through which DirecTV, ESPN HD and ESPN 2 HD will give away 100 Philips Consumer Electronics Co. HDTVs through Nov. 26, in addition to a free year of DirecTV service.

ESPN had been teasing the “100 Yard Blitz” promotion on its Sports Center telecasts throughout August, without revealing the DirecTV partnership or that the companies would give away free HDTV sets.

The promotion, timed to take advantage of the peak HD sales season during the fall, could help DirecTV boost its HDTV subscriber count.

ESPN said Mike and Mike in the Morning hosts Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg will hype the HDTV giveaways each weekday at 8:40 a.m. (ET) through Nov. 26.

They’ll dole out at least one Philips 42-inch HDTV and DirecTV package each morning.

Viewers can enter the HDTV giveaway by viewing 10-second promos that will run on ESPN, ESPN HD and ESPN2 HD.

The promos will contain code words that viewers can use to register for a chance to win the package via a Web site (www.100yardblitz.com).

After registering, viewers will receive e-mails prompting them to watch Mike and Mike in the Morning on a specific day to see if he or she won the package, ESPN said.

Golic and Greenberg told viewers Thursday morning that it was the biggest promotion of its kind they had ever heard of.

ESPN spokeswoman Catherine Sloane Brett said the programmer would be open to running similar promotions with cable operators.

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