Sport164 will be discontinued at the end of May

Keystone-SDA's sports newsroom will cease operating its telephone news service on 0900 164 164 at the end of May 2023. Keystone-SDA regrets the decision.


As of the beginning of 2023, Keystone-SDA had to change the operation of the service from the short number 164 to the 0900 number. Following the latest revision of the Telecommunications Act, it has no longer been permitted to distribute information services via short numbers since January 1. These are reserved for emergency call services, rescue and breakdown services, and security information services.

According to Keystone-SDA, the switch from the short number to the 0900 number caused a massive and significantly higher than expected drop in caller numbers. This meant that Sport164 could no longer cover its costs.

This means that Sport164 will be discontinued after almost 70 years of existence. The number was founded in 1955 by the then PTT. From then on, the 164 was practically the only way, apart from radio, to receive sports results in real time - from both Switzerland and abroad. The then news agency Sportinformation Si took over the Sport164 business from PTT and later operated it in close cooperation with partners Swisscom and Ringier. Since 2010, Si and since 2018, through the merger of the news agencies, Keystone-SDA operated the number on its own.

In the best times, more than 10 million callers called the number per year, according to Keystone-SDA. With the advent of new technologies and smartphones in particular, the number has declined constantly in recent years. Most recently, the number of callers for 1.40 francs per minute was still a good 200,000 a year - still an astonishing figure, according to Keystone-SDA, considering that almost all people in Switzerland have access to the Internet via cell phone at all times.

Under the protected Sport164 brand, the agency also operated an SMS news service until 2021. In earlier years, Sport164 had also produced MMS services and - based on WAP technology - content for the Swiss portal of "Vodafone live! Sport164 also supported Swiss sports, was a partner in the Spengler Cup, for example, and acted as helmet sponsor for the best Swiss ski racers until well into the new millennium.

"We have known for years that Sport164 has an expiration date due to new technologies," Jann Jenatsch, COO of Keystone-SDA, is quoted as saying in the statement. "We had hoped to be able to delay the end for a few more years, but the change was too much for our clientele. The switch to the 0900 number sealed the end of this institution."

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