ORF axes sports channel

Jörn Krieger


Austrian public broadcaster Österreichischer Rundfunk (ORF) is axing its sports channel ORF Sport Plus for financial reasons.

Information director Elmar Oberhauser has already cancelled the channel’s budget for next year and informed sporting associations of the decision. “It’s terrible – Sport Plus is my child, but I can’t afford it anymore,” said Oberhauser in Vienna.

Oberhauser explained that ORF Sport Plus was launched in May 2006 in order to create more airtime for niche sports. “Many TV operators in Europe envy our channel,” he said, adding that €7 million per year was needed for running the channel, “which I don’t have for a niche service”.

ORF Sport Plus screens live transmissions, recorded events and shows. The focus is on niche sports as well as sporting events which can’t be screened on the main channels ORF 1 and ORF 2 due to a lack of time. The free-to-air channel is available Europe-wide on Astra (19.2° East) as well as via cable networks and DTT in Austria. While ORF Sport Plus shares its broadcasting slot on Astra and on cable with the ORF tourism and weather channel TW1, it occupies its own channel on DTT.