ORF finalises deal for Austrian Bundesliga live rights

Austrian public-service broadcaster ORF has finalised its acquisition of live Austrian Bundesliga rights ahead of the league’s return on June 2.

ORF has struck an agreement with rights-holder Sky, the pay-television broadcaster, and will show a total of 15 matches between now and the end of the season.

The matches will comprise 10 from the Championship Group, which includes the top six sides, and five from the Qualification Group, which is made up of the bottom six clubs.

Sky will continue to show all individual Austrian Bundesliga matches live along with its ‘Konferenz’ coverage, which offers live action from various simultaneous matches in a single broadcast.

Weekend matches from the Qualification Group will take place on Saturdays at 5pm (CET), while Sunday matches from the Championship Group will be played at 5:00pm and 7:30pm due to the hotter temperatures over the summer.

News of ORF’s talks with Sky emerged this week. The public broadcaster already holds rights to weekend highlights and previously held live rights. It was claimed in the Austrian press that ORF was ready to pay as much as €5m ($5.5m) for free-to-air rights to one live match of its choice from each of the remaining ten match weeks.

ORF, which previously offered a live Austrian Bundesliga match every Sunday, negotiated a highlights agreement with Sky as the pay-television broadcaster agreed various free-to-air agreements from 2018-19 onwards.

Telekom Austria’s A1 IPTV platform picked up rights to four live matches per season and deals were also struck with media group Mediengruppe Österreich and Austria-based streaming service Laola1.

In neighbouring Germany, Sky Deutschland has opted to offer free access to its Konferenz coverage as the German Bundesliga returned. As a result, the broadcaster last week registered record audiences as the action returned.