Austrian public-service broadcaster ORF has secured exclusive rights to soccer’s 2026 FIFA World Cup men’s national teams tournament.
The free-to-air (FTA) network unveiled the tie-up earlier this week, with the deal covering rights to all 104 matches from the next World Cup, which will be held across Mexico, the US, and Canada. The deal has been agreed directly by ORF – which has covered World Cup action in Austria since the turn of the millennium – with FIFA.
The broadcaster's announcement makes a point of mentioning that “ORF has the opportunity to sub-license World Cup games.”
For the previous FIFA World Cup, across last November and December in Qatar, ORF struck late sub-licensing deals with both ServusTV and Red Bull Media.
Roland Weißmann, ORF’s director-general, said: "It is particularly important for ORF to make mass-appealing sporting events accessible to as many people in Austria as possible. In the particularly competitive sports rights market, it is a strong and positive sign for a public broadcaster to have the World Cup in its programming.”
The 2026 World Cup, for the first time ever, will contain 48 teams, up from 32 at the previous edition last year.
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Austria have not qualified for a FIFA World Cup since 1998.
The last broadcast rights deal covering the 2026 World Cup came late last month, with Australian free-to-air broadcaster Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) announcing it had retained rights. It will broadcast all matches live across its SBS and SBS Viceland channels and its SBS On Demand streaming platform.
In terms of ORF’s other soccer coverage, meanwhile, the broadcaster holds highlights rights for the top-tier Austrian Football Bundesliga in a sub-licensing deal with pay-television broadcaster Sky Österreich through 2025-26. The deal also includes rights to four co-exclusive live games per season.
In addition, ORF also holds the rights to the 2.Liga Austrian second-tier.