ORF seals wide-ranging EHF, IIHF and ISU rights deal with Infront

Austrian public-service broadcaster ORF agreed a new multi-faceted deal with the Infront agency for rights to European Handball Federation, International Ice Hockey Federation and International Skating Union events.

The deal with the agency grants ORF rights to the EHF European Championships in 2020, 2022 and 2024, along with all the qualifying matches of the Austrian men’s and women’s team to the tournaments. The EHF Euro 2020 is being co-hosted by Austria, alongside Norway and Sweden.

It also includes rights to the IIHF World Championships, from 2024 to 2026. ORF currently hold the rights in a six-year deal, from 2018 to 2023, also with Infront.

ORF has also picked up rights to ISU speed skating, short track and figure skating events, from 2019-20 to 2022-23, as part of the deal. The public-service broadcaster has held ISU rights since at least 2007 due to its membership to the European Broadcasting Union, Europe’s consortium of mainly public-service broadcasters.

Infront hold global EHF media and marketing rights, from 2020-21 to 2029-30, as part of the joint venture with DAZN Group that acquired the rights from EHF Marketing, the commercial arm of the federation. The contract excludes the 2020 EHF Euros given they were part of Infront’s previous agreement.

The joint deal with DAZN also includes EHF club competition rights, including the Champions League, which are not part of the deal with ORF.

EHF Champions League rights in Austria are currently held exclusively by pay-television Sky Deutschland, from 2017-18 to 2019-20, as part of a deal that also covers Germany (exclusive) and Switzerland (non-exclusive).

Infront is also the long-term global rights-holder of IIHF events and has this year extended its media and marketing agreement with the federation by 10 years, from 2024 to 2033, worth a total of about CHF500m.

Infront this year became the global rights-holder, excluding the US, Canada, China, Japan and Korea, of ISU events, from 2019-20 to 2022-23. Infront outbid the EBU in the latest sales process, which had most recently acquired the same set of rights, from 2015-16 to 2018-19.

These new agreements add to ORF’s dealings with Infront, having last month sealed a renewal of its rights to a number of major events operated by the International Ski Federation until 2025-26.