SBD/Issue 64/Sports Media

PVI Virtual Media Strikes Separate Deals With Sportvision, ESPN

PVI Technology Rights For Broadcast
Enhancements Sold To Sportvision, ESPN

Sportvision Inc. has struck an asset acquisition and licensing deal with rival broadcast technology outfit PVI Virtual Media Services Inc. in which Sportvision will acquire certain intellectual property, company assets and patent licenses from the Cablevision-owned PVI, and will now sell PVI products and services. In a separate deal, ESPN will also acquire significant portions of PVI intellectual property and will hire "substantially all" of PVI's engineering staff. Financial terms were not disclosed, but the deal ends more than a decade of often-heated competition between Sportvision and PVI, including a set of patent infringement claims over the now-ubiquitous 1st-and-10 line in televised football that were settled out of court in '02. "This deal is really 10 years in the making," said Sportvision President & COO Mike Jakob. "It's a complex deal, but we've finally figured out a way to do this and work together. We're very pleased to be taking what they're good at, particularly the in-studio insertion of [broadcast] enhancements, and marry that up with our expertise, particularly in the optical tracking and on-site event work, and sell as one entity." ESPN, meanwhile, will use the PVI technology across multiple platforms, furthering its interests in areas such as 3D TV graphics, iTV applications and virtual insertion. "PVI has developed some of the television industry's leading virtual content, and now the addition of their engineering team will help ESPN continue to invent ground-breaking production enhancements for our fans," said ESPN Exec VP/Technology Chuck Pagano in a statement.

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