ESPN sets interactive TV test with NHL, X Games

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ESPN will test single-screen interactive TV during four hours of live prime-time programming Feb. 3, in conjunction with several of its affiliates, advertisers and the National Hockey League.

Advertisers participating in the Winter X Games trial include Nike, Heinz Bagel Bits, Gillette Co.'s Right Guard Xtreme Sport and the U.S. Marine Corps; Daimler-Chrysler/Dodge Trucks is participating in the NHL test, which will air during the NHL All-Star Saturday program. Cable systems owned by ESPN affiliates Adelphia, Charter, Comcast and Susquehanna will be involved.

DirecTV subscribers with the most recent RCA DSS unit also will also participate in the test, which will utilize the interactive infrastructure services and/or software of "enabling" companies CommerceTV, RespondTV and WINK. Each telecast will feature three primary enhancements: access to enhanced participant/event content; enhanced commercials - product sampling, couponing, sweepstakes entries and product purchasing; and offers to purchase merchandise relating to the two events including Winter X Games long-sleeved T-shirts and NHL All-Star apparel. Participating viewers will manipulate the enhancements using their remote controls; no keyboards are necessary.

Copyright January 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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