Associated Press and IMG Worldwide’s joint venture Sports News TV is launching a high definition service for its international broadcaster client base.

Although the service will continue to supply standard definition, the move to HD has been planned to pre-empt demand for higher quality footage in a year of major sporting events, not least the London 2012 Olympics.

SNTV managing director Martin Kay said: “We are very excited to be the first sports news agency to offer high definition in time for a huge year in sport. We start with the Australian Open, then the African Cup of Nations, Euro 2012, the London Olympics, the Ryder Cup and the T20 Cricket World Cup.

Senior vice president of AP and SNTV board director Daisy Veerasingham described the launch as “ major milestone”.

“The appetite in the sports industry for HD content is strong and with the major year ahead, SNTV’s customers will be getting the content they want, when, where and how they want it.”

AP aims to make all its news content available in HD by this summer, a significant move that includes the introduction of more than 200 HD cameras, upgraded mobile satellite trucks and enhanced backhaul capabilities to handle the HD signal.