Broadband will have ‘seismic effect’ on sports coverage


13 Oct 2006

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The number of subscribers to the broadband video service of the Ryder Cup greatly exceeded expectations and if anything the advent of broadband will lead to a seismic shift in the world of broadcasting of sports content, Irish streaming media company Servecast said yesterday.

Servecast CEO Darach Deehan told the Streaming Media Europe conference in London: “”New media sports-casting is becoming increasingly important to the sports industry as part of the marketing mix ensuring brand development and introducing new channels for revenue growth.”

Servecast was established in 1998 by Kevin Quinn and today the company’s client list includes big sports names like Sky Sports, Setanta Sports, Liverpool FC, Manchester United FC, Arsenel FC, Chelsea FC, the Rugby Football League and At the Races.

The company has provided streaming media for some of the world’s most prestigious sporting events including Wimbledon, the Tour de France, the Champions League, the Six Nations and most recently the Ryder Cup.

Deehan said that there continues to be a seismic shift in the world of broadcasting of sports content. “The availability of broadband is increasing rapidly, now exceeding cable TV penetration in most markets. With increased broadband access, fans now expect to be able to easily access sports news and coverage online wherever they are in the world. This is the demanding global sports community we help serve through deploying our streaming solutions for more European sports bodies and rights holders than anyone else.

“It’s our experience that a fan’s relationship with their sport’s brand of choice is enriched by online video content provided in the context of an integrated and personalised service delivery,” said Deehan.

Deehan cited his company’s recent work with Sky Sports as an example of where this area is going. “As the long-term streaming media partner of Sky Sports we recently implemented and managed the live streaming of the Ryder Cup over the Sky Sports website. The number of subscribers to the broadband video service of the Ryder Cup greatly exceeded expectations due to the high quality of the service and user-friendly nature.

“The video was streamed at 600 Kbps providing excellent viewing quality online. The ability to achieve such high-resolution and quality video is indicative of how broadband can give a much enhanced viewer experience online.”

Deehan concluded: “Sports bodies, broadcasters and rights holders can create an intimate relationship with their customers by providing them with an advanced online video environment through which quality sports content, merchandise and news can be consumed, thereby increasing loyalty and ensuring a return on investment.”

By John Kennedy