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Fore! European Tour TV Tees Off With Windows Azure
Ready to hit the links? Microsoft partners with the European Tour association to launch a Euro-centric live and on-demand golf site.

With summer fast approaching -- and already here if temperatures across the U.K. and Europe are any indication -- it's the perfect time to think about golf. For all the duffers who read Streaming Media, Microsoft, Deltatre, and The European Tour have a pleasant surprise: the launch of European Tour TV.

As a Euro-centric site that's available for viewing in the United States and other non-European locals, European Tour TV will offer exclusive highlights followed soon by live coverage of tournaments.

According to a press release put out by The European Tour's digital media services provider, Deltatre, the site launched with "over 100 hours of highlights going back as far as 1987." The Tour expects its archival, on-demand library to grow to over 500 hours of content in short order. Deltatre notes that the site will also provide daily, curated playlists of key content.

Signing up to view on-demand content is simple: Go to the My European Tour section of EuropeanTour.com and sign up for gratis access.

On the technical front, Deltatre is streaming from its video platform, Diva. Overall storage for video content is managed by Microsoft's Windows Azure Media Services.

"We wanted to ensure that everyone in the world is able to access European Tour video content," said Mark Lichtenhein, the European Tour’s Head of Television, Digital Media and Technology. "Using the Windows Azure platform enables us to reach fans beyond our regular broadcast footprint.”

Deltatre and Tour officials say the site will add tournament live streaming later in the year, available for live viewing in territories that "currently do not benefit from any local television distribution."

This nod to golf enthusiasts around the globe will provide exposure for the Tour's newest big-money Final Series events. One such event, which may be broadcast if live streaming is available in time, is the inaugural European Tour event in Turkey, the Turkish Airlines Open. With Tiger Woods confirmed to play his first event in Turkey, the Turkish Airlines Open will begin on November 7, 2013, as part of the new Final Series that leads to the Race To Dubai.

In addition to live streaming of the European Tour, the site plans to offer highlights of the Challenge Tour and Senior Tour.

For its part, Deltatre sees European Tour TV as a natural byproduct of its long-term work with the Tour association, which started with website development in 2009.

“The European Tour shares Deltatre’s commitment to providing golf fans the most complete, interactive experience possible," said Paul Bristow, Deltatre's chief commercial officer. "Whether following live play or re-living some of the greatest moments in golf history, that mutual goal drove ourselves, the Tour, and Microsoft to bring European Tour golf to the global audience in a whole new way."