The club formed on 5 May 1912 as Sportvereinigung Ried, and played in the regional leagues of Upper Austria until 1991, when they ascended to the national leagues for the first time. SV Ried first achieved promotion to the highest level of Austrian football in 1995.
SV Ried gained their first major honour in 1998 when they won the Austrian Cup, beating Sturm Graz 3–1 in the final. In 2003, Ried were relegated, ending an eight-year spell in the top division. Two seasons later, Ried regained Bundesliga status, becoming champions of the Erste Liga on 23 May 2005 following a 3–2 victory over Kapfenberg. In the following season (2005–06) Ried achieved their highest league finish so far, fourth, in the Bundesliga. The year after they managed to improve once more finishing second and becoming vice-champion. After the first third of the season, the team seemed to battle against relegation and was stuck on the last place for five gameweeks. The club management however kept trusting in Helmut Kraft's coaching abilities, which would turn out to be the right decision after all. Twelve matches without a loss in the second third of the season and five wins out of the last five matches from gameweek 32–36 guaranteed the club's highest season finish on place 2 and a spot in the 1st round of the UEFA-Cup qualification.