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The internet is becoming a powerful broadcasting tool for sports organisations and television channels.

"New media sportscasting is becoming increasingly important to the sports industry as part of the marketing mix ensuring brand development and introducing new channels for revenue growth," said Darach Deehan, chief executive of Servecast at the Streaming Media Europe conference in London on Thursday.

The conference, which is also held annually in the US, addresses how streaming media intersects with the business and content world.

The development of broadband has seen significant developments in recent times. In September, the Ryder Cup was broadcast live through Sky Sports' website and earlier in the same month Yahoo! announced a deal with the National Football League (NFL), the governing body of professional American Football in the US, to stream NFL games live online outside of the US.

"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," said Deehan.

"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," he said.

Servecast was founded in 1998 by Kevin Quinn and has provided streaming media for the Tour de France, Six Nations rugby and the UEFA Champions League. The company is based in Dublin with offices in London, Paris and Hamburg and its clients include Sky Sports, Manchester United, and the GAA.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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