Adidas have agreed a three-year deal with the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB) to supply balls for the top two tiers of Austrian club soccer.
The sportswear brand will begin providing balls for the top-tier Austrian Football Bundesliga and the second-tier Austrian Football First League from the start of the 2018/19 season, with the new ball design due to be presented in April.
The agreement comes after Bundesliga clubs last year agreed to use a universal game ball, and invited manufacturers to partner with the league.
“I am pleased that we have succeeded after many years in having a uniform league ball,” said Hans Rinner, president of the Bundesliga. “My thanks also go to our long-time league partner Adidas, who will bring its sporting know-how to this project.”
“The introduction of the league ball from the season 2018/19 represents a significant step forward in terms of sporting fairness and quality,” added Christian Ebenbauer, board member of the Bundesliga. “It makes us proud that all 20 Bundesliga clubs have spoken out unanimously for the league ball.”
Georg Kovacic, director of brand activation at Adidas Austria, said: “We are extremely pleased that the Austrian Football Association has decided to cooperate with Adidas. This makes it clear how important it is for the league and the clubs to increase the sporting significance of Austrian football. In this way we will support the Bundesliga and thus the players in the next three years and help provide the best match balls to strengthen the quality of the league.”
Meanwhile Pay-TV operator Sky Austria has acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to Austria’s elite soccer league, the Fußball-Bundesliga.
The four-year deal, which starts from the 2018/19 season, will see Sky air all matches live across all of its distribution channels, including satellite, cable, IPTV, over-the-top (OTT), and mobile.
The company also won the separate tender for the production of the Bundesliga’s broadcast signal.
The agreement includes all 195 annual games from the top-tier league, which will expand from ten to 12 teams in 2018.
The financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but the league said in a statement that the agreement would guarantee a 40 per cent increase in the rights income in comparison with the current cycle.
Sky will also show online clips, and sublicense rights to a free-to-air channel for regular highlights and live coverage of four games per season.
“This decision is great news for Sky and our subscribers, who will be able to enjoy all matches and all goals of the Austrian Bundesliga live until 2022, exclusively for four years starting in 2018,” said Christine Scheil, managing director at Sky Austria. “The new agreement strengthens Sky’s position as the undisputed football number one in Austria. Sky’s goal is to provide its customers with a first-class product and great service. “
“We look forward to an intensive, long-term partnership with the aim of sustainably strengthening the international competitiveness of Austrian clubs,” added Holger Enßlin, general manager of Sky Austria GmbH. “We want to break new ground in the marketing of the product football and make it more attractive for the most diverse target groups. Especially the younger fans are our concern. “
Hans Rinner, president of the Fußball-Bundesliga, said: “The significant revenue increase is good news for Austrian football and therefore secures future development.”