Puls4 Win UEFA CL Rights from ORF, Europa Rights to go Other Way

April 1, 2011

Austria’s free-to-air television rights for the UEFA Champions League have changed hands, with live coverage moving from ORF to Puls4 from the 2012/13 season onwards.

The company, owned by German media conglomerate ProSiebenSat.1, agreed a three-year deal that enables the channel to screen 18 Champions League games per season, including the final.

Additionally, Puls4 are also enabled to broadcast matches from the play-off round, which may involve the competition’s two Austrian Bundesliga entrants should they advance past the third qualifying round stage, as well as the annual UEFA Super Cup match played between the Champions League and Europa League winners.

Markus Breitenecker, managing director of Puls4, said: “Taking on the Champions League was a tactical masterstroke from my management team. We are the fastest growing channel in Austria and this is a unique deal in Austrian TV history.

“We are pleased that we have managed to secure the TV rights to the most important tournament in club football until 2015. Live and exclusive coverage of the Champions League on free television in Austria will now only be on Puls4.”

Puls4 will broadcast highlights programmes on both Tuesday and Wednesday match-nights and the deal extends to the channel’s website and mobile platforms under the terms of the comprehensive package.

It has been widely reported that the Austrian free-to-air rights for UEFA’s secondary club competition, the Europa League, will move in the opposite direction. Europa League matches are expected to switch from Puls4, who are in the second year of a three-season contract, to public broadcaster ORF come in the same season.

Martin Biedermann, head of communications for ORF, told the Austrian media that the broadcaster has reached a basic agreement with UEFA for Europa League rights, adding: “It’s only a matter of regulating the details. We will probably sign a contract in the coming days.”

Reflecting on ORF’s loss of Champions League rights, Biedermann added: “This decision goes in the direction we took last year. We have a lot of sport on ORF One and it was difficult to evaluate the worth of the Champions League because in recent years we have seen a fall in advertising rates for it. Ergo, ORF offered a sum it deemed worthy but obviously Puls4 made a bid that was significantly higher.

“If we are to show international club football, we would rather show a competition where Austria is represented. The Europa League is better for us simply because it has more relevance in Austria.”