ESPN 3D, one of the most prominent programming sources in the long attempt by the consumer electronics and entertainment industries to bring 3D to the home, will be shutting down by the end of the year. The network announced the move on its official Twitter account Wednesday:
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
In a further statement to the media, ESPN said:
“Due to limited viewer adoption of 3D services to the home, ESPN is discontinuing ESPN 3D. We are committing our 3D resources to other products and services that will better serve fans and affiliates. Nobody knows more about sports in 3D than ESPN, and we will be ready to provide the service to fans if or when 3D does take off.”
Backed by the Walt Disney Co.-owned sports media colossus ESPN, ESPN 3D launched in 2010, around the time the electronics industry was betting heavily on glasses-dependent 3D TV products. 3D, though, has been a major flop, due to a variety of factors from the unwieldiness of the glasses to a lack of programming.
The network carried college football basketball, the NBA, and soccer, including high-profile presentations of the FIFA World Cup at CE Week in 2010 and the BCS Championship Game at International CES the past two years. However, ESPN never attempted to mount a 3D broadcast of the NFL or Major League Baseball.
ESPN has recently announced a series of layoffs, but it’s unclear if the shutdown of the 3D channel is connected to that.