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Volume 21 No. 2
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ESPN among several companies cutting back on presence at CES, which runs this week

A year after making its largest statement ever at the International Consumer Electronics Show, ESPN is scaling back.

ESPN last year constructed its first CES show booth, an elaborate setup that included a regulation-sized boxing ring used for 3-D TV broadcasts of Top Rank Boxing matches and “SportsNation.”

This year, however, ESPN will employ a far cheaper and more targeted plan at the Las Vegas event, which is the world’s largest trade show. Network executives will host an invitation-only party for tonight’s BCS championship game, broadcast on ESPN and ESPN 3D, and Bryan Burns, network vice president of strategic planning, will speak on a panel regarding 3-D TV. Several other network executives are slated to attend. But the company’s overall profile this week will be comparatively muted.

Even with the diminished presence of not only ESPN but several other technology heavyweights, including Microsoft, the 2013 version of CES beginning Tuesday is poised to set several event records. The show has already sold more than 1.87 million square feet of exhibit space, its largest total ever, and last year’s all-time high audited attendance of 156,153 will be challenged if not surpassed.

Among the expected CES announcements is one from electronics brand Samsung, which is promising a “new TV unlike anything the world has ever seen.” Industry buzz has suggested the new Samsung set will feature a transparent screen with a vertical, portrait-style orientation.