The Austrian Bundesliga had been struggling for a while with a relatively boring competition. The league consisted of 10 teams who played against each other four times per season. The champion was often clear early on: RB Salzburg. Hypercube was asked in 2016 to investigate how the quality of the competition could be boosted in a positive way, both sportively and commercially.
Based on data analyzes and discussions with stakeholders, it was advised to expand the Austrian Bundesliga from ten to twelve teams and to split the competition in three phases.
In the first phase, all teams will meet each other both home and away for a total of 22 matches per club. Then, in the second phase, the teams are divided into a Meistergruppe, consisting of the top six, and a Qualifikationsgruppe, consisting of the last six of the standings after phase 1. Half of the points obtained in phase 1 are carried over to phase 2.
In both groups there will again be a home and away round, with a total of ten matches per club. The winner of the Meistergruppe is champion, number two qualifies as does the cup winner for UEFA Europa League, while the red lantern bearer in the Qualifikationsgruppe is relegated. The fourth and final European ticket will be contested in the form of play-offs (phase 3).
The new competition was played for the first time in the 2018/19 season. Since its introduction, there has been more excitement in the competition. The top teams are challenged more and the small teams also have more to play for during the season. Partly because of this, Austria has risen considerably in the UEFA Coefficients ranking.
See the video below for a detailed explanation of the changes: