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Austrian Eishockey Liga free-to-air rights change hands in Puls 24 deal

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - MARCH 4: Nikolaus Hartl of Vienna during the Vienna Capitals v Graz99ers - Erste Bank Eishockey Liga Play-Offs Quarterfinal Game 1 at Erste Bank Arena on March 4, 2020 in Vienna, Austria. (Photo by Stephan Woldron/SEPA.Media /Getty Images)

Commercial broadcasting group ProSiebenSat.1 has acquired exclusive domestic free-to-air rights to the Austrian Ice Hockey League for its new commercial Puls 24 channel in the country.

The new deal covers the 2020-21 season, includes up to 45 games live, a game from each playoff match-day, and highlights to all other matches. Coverage will also be available on its streaming platform Zappn and on the puls24.at website.

The Eishockey Liga is the top-tier league in Austria, but also includes teams from the Czech Republic, Italy, Hungary and Slovakia.

Puls 24 takes over free-to-air rights in Austria from Red Bull-owned Servus TV. The commercial broadcaster has held free-to-air rights for almost a decade. Its latest deal began in the 2016-17 season.

Austrian public-service broadcaster ORF had recently expressed its interest in the free-to-air rights.

Sky Deutschland holds pay-television rights to the league in Austria in a five-season deal, running from 2016-17 to 2020-21. It broadcasts a minimum of 50 games per season.

ProSiebenSat.1 launched Puls 24 in September 2019.

Mario Lenz, director, group sports rights at ProSiebenSat. 1 Puls 4 said: “This commitment is another milestone in the impressive development so far for Puls 24. Our entire team is looking forward to working with the league, the teams and of course the fans.”

The league has said it will be undergoing a complete re-launch of its corporate identity and design in mid-June before the start of the 2020-21 season.