ORF boss Weißmann on missing sports rights

ORF boss Weißmann on missing sports rights
ORF boss Weißmann on missing sports rights

ORF Director General Roland Weißmann explains in a guest commentary in the “Standard” (Tuesday edition) why the ORF is not showing Austria’s games at the European Football Championship in Germany. “Because just as there are eight million team managers in Austria, there are at least as many television directors,” Weißmann wrote with a wink, referring to the fact that he has been asked this question frequently recently.

“Costs exploded”

His answer is that the world of sports rights is changing. “The costs have exploded and have reached such proportions that no media company can afford to broadcast all major events anymore,” says Weißmann.

Prices have more than doubled in the last ten years. Sports licenses are acquired through bidding processes – similar to an auction – which results in significantly higher license prices.

“Economic efficiency, expediency and economy”

“As a public broadcaster, the ORF is committed to efficiency, expediency and economy; the ORF law also binds us to this, especially in the area of ​​acquiring sports rights, in order to promote the development of the dual broadcasting system in Austria. And this also includes the fact that commercial media companies can also broadcast major sporting events,” wrote the ORF boss.

The ORF submitted an offer to broadcast the 2024 European Championships – only ServusTV was awarded the contract with an “apparently significantly higher offer”. The two media companies then agreed that the ORF would receive a sublicense and show 20 of the 51 games. Something similar is to be expected for the 2026 World Cup, for which the ORF holds the rights. Talks will be held about cooperation with other Austrian TV broadcasters, announced Weißmann.

In principle, it is important to ORF to show Austria’s sporting world in all its breadth. In total, more than 70 sports are shown, said the ORF boss. “On the other hand, it is very important to ORF to ensure that all Austrians have free TV access to major events. To achieve this, we are choosing the path of cooperation,” wrote Weißmann, congratulating ServusTV on its “successful performance.”

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