Austrian free-to-air (FTA) channel ServusTV is reportedly set to secure rights to air UEFA’s second-tier Europa League and third-tier Europa Conference League through a sub-licensing deal with commercial broadcaster Puls 4.
Puls 4, owned by German commercial network ProSiebenSat.1, holds FTA rights in Austria to air a Europa League or Conference League match live on a Thursday and Champions League highlights show on a Tuesday evening for the next 2024-25 to 2026-27 cycle through a deal struck in December 2022.
At the time, Markus Breitenecker, chief executive of ProSiebenSat.1 Puls 4, said the broadcaster would showcase the two competitions across its linear channels and streaming app Zappn.
However, according to Austrian news outlet Der Standard and other local news websites, Red Bull Media House-owned ServusTV has agreed to a deal to hold these rights from next season.
Neither party confirmed the deal when asked.
ServusTV holds FTA rights to the first-pick match of the top-tier Champions League on a Wednesday and the first-pick Europa League or Europa Conference League match on a Thursday for the current 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle. The package also includes FTA rights to the Champions League final and highlights throughout the contract.
However, those rights in the country will be taken over by pay-TV giant Canal Plus for the 2024-25 to 2026-27 period, with ServusTV walking away with no rights for the cycle.
The main rights package for UEFA club competition rights for the next cycle will be held by pay-TV giant Sky Austria.
Sky's deal includes exclusive rights to all Tuesday evening matches and eight of the nine Wednesday matches played per week. It will show 185 Champions League matches each season, while both Sky and Canal Plus will have the rights to air the final.
The move comes after ServusTV announced it would close down its linear channels in Germany and focus on its operations in Austria, which holds several high-profile sports rights including the UEFA men’s Euro 2024 and 2028 Championship, Austria’s UEFA national team qualifiers, and motor racing’s Formula 1, among others.
Sturm Graz, Austria's representative in the 2023-24 Europa League, exited at the group stage.