EBU extends with Austrian Ski in 'more digital and immersive' deal
The European Broadcasting Union, the umbrella body of public-service broadcasters, has extended its long-running media rights deal with the Austrian Ski Association (ÖSV) for a further three seasons (2018-19 to 2020-21), meaning that its broadcaster members will continue to have direct access to all FIS Skiing World Cup events taking place in the country.
These include top Alpine events in Kitzbühel, (including the Hahnenkamm downhill) and Schladming, plus ski jumping from the last two events of the high-profile annual Four Hills tournament in Innsbruck and Bischofshofen.
In total, the deal covers more than 30 World Cup events each season across the disciplines of Alpine, ski jumping, Nordic combined, snowboard and freestyle, and there is an option to prolong it for a further three years, to 2023-24.
The EBU stated that the new agreement with the ÖSV “represents a major advance in extending the scope and potential of media rights beyond traditional areas to now include more digital and immersive exploitation.”
Stefan Kürten, the EBU’s executive director of sport, said: “The EBU has an unrivalled portfolio that includes for the years to come the very top properties in winter sports. We are proud to be the chosen partner for all World Cup events of Austrian and Swiss Ski and for all IBU Biathlon World Championships and World Cup events.
“Our partnership guarantees the widest exposure combined with the latest digital solutions on all platforms.”
Peter Schröcksnadel, the ÖSV’s president, said: “We are very proud to continue our relationship with the EBU for the upcoming seasons. The visibility and reach that Europe’s biggest public service broadcasters offer will continue to enable huge audiences to enjoy the very best skiing action free-to-air throughout the season.”
International rights to World Cup events are mainly distributed by Infront, the Switzerland-based sports marketing agency, with the exception of those held in the key territories of Austria and Switzerland, plus Romania.
In 2016, the EBU was confirmed as the holder of rights to FIS World Cup events staged in Switzerland for the following six years after a legal dispute with Infront was settled.
Earlier, Zug-based Infront won a preliminary ruling from a court in Switzerland preventing the EBU from entering a contract with Swiss Ski, running from 2016-17 to 2021-22, covering the international rights to World Cup events held in the market.
Infront had complained that a matching offer right in the deal that it and Swiss public-service broadcaster SRG SSR had with Swiss Ski had not been respected.
But the EBU denied any wrongdoing, insisting that it acted “in a proper and routine manner” in responding to an invitation to bid from Swiss Ski, and was the target of “unilateral allegations.”
Following negotiations between the three parties, the clash was resolved, with the rights remaining with the EBU.