Online ads could boost future of niche sports

It's not just England football matches going online - the future of niche sports could be boosted by ad-funded online coverage, as a deal signed by squash's governing body and online TV provider Perform hopes to prove.

The Professional Squash Association is taking a leaf from the decision to stream the England vs Ukraine World Cup qualifier football match online to paying viewers only, in an attempt to generate more revenue from advertising.The PSA has said the internet gives a low profile sport with limited mainstream broadcast possibilities the potential to reach a huge global audience directly, along with new commercial opportunities.

The sports body has formed a partnership with Perform, the right's holder for the England-Ukraine game, which will drive the PSA's digital activity as part of a wider strategy of delivering more for its members and increasing access to the game.

Over five years Perform will build a new official site offering Squash TV, providing a high quality live and on demand squash streaming service covering over 250 live matches per year and featuring event highlights, full match downloads, behind the scenes features and interviews, player rankings and sponsor areas.

Discussions are also underway for Perform to provide global production services for some of the PSA's smaller tournaments not currently being covered for TV broadcast, with a view to streaming them exclusively live online.

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