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ServusTV, ORF to share free-to-air F1 rights in Austria

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Austrian commercial broadcaster ServusTV and public-service broadcaster ORF will both broadcast coverage of Formula One from 2021 onwards, according to reports in Austria.

Both broadcasters will share free-to-air coverage in the country from 2021, alternating from race to race.

Pay-television rights in Austria were renewed by Sky Deutschland last week, as part of its wider deal across Germany, Austria and Switzerland, covering the 2021 and 2022 seasons. From 2021, its rights in Germany will be exclusive, whilst public-service broadcaster SRG SSR holds free-to-air rights in Switzerland until 2022.

F1 TV Pro, the property’s premium OTT package, will remain available in each market.

News of impending free-to-air rights deals in Austria comes with Formula 1 to start its delayed 2020 season at Austria’s Red Bull Ring this weekend, the venue’s first of two back-to-back events in the championship’s initial eight-race European swing.

ORF currently hold free-to-air rights in Austria, in what was originally a three-year deal from 2017 to 2019, but later extended to include the 2020 season. It broadcasts all races live, as well as qualifying and Friday practice sessions.

In 2019, ORF’s average Formula 1 audience increased to 534,000 per race, up from 515,000 in 2018. The average market share remained flat at 37 per cent.

Red Bull Media-owned ServusTV has become more active in sports rights acquisitions over the last year, and has recently announced the acquisition of a host of Uefa club competition rights in Austria across the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle.