Infront seals media rights deal with Universal Sports for FIS World Cup

The American media network Universal Sports and the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media have announced an exclusive media rights agreement for a comprehensive number of FIS World Cup events through to 2015/16. It covers all the FIS Alpine Skiing, Ski Jumping, Cross Country, Nordic Combined, Snowboard and Freestyle World Cup races where Infront handles the media rights collectively – almost 200 events per season – and starts 2011/12.

A top quality television product

As the media rights partner of most national skiing federations that host the FIS World Cup events, Infront is developing the FIS properties as a coherent, high-level television entertainment product. The new agreement with Universal Sports includes full live coverage, as well as delayed and highlights coverage for television (including terrestrial, cable, satellite, and broadband platforms), radio and internet (including mobile rights and video on demand) on a FREE and/or PAY basis. It exclusively covers the major US sports market as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

As in previous years, the Universal Sports audience will benefit from extensive programming around the FIS World Cup season – November to March. Infront’s media rights portfolio comprises FIS World Cup events in approximately 30 countries around the world, including the most prestigious races in each discipline.

As part of the deal, Universal Sports has also acquired a further license for three dedicated magazine programmes on FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Alpine Skiing. Each magazine series is made up of a number of 25 minute shows featuring race action, interviews, backstage shots and items of interest from the world’s top winter sports resorts.

Sustained coverage in a crucial market

"The agreement with Infront allows our network to continue bringing multi-platform coverage of the FIS World Cup events to millions of winter sport enthusiasts across the U.S.," said David Sternberg, CEO of Universal Sports. "We are excited to showcase some of the greatest athletes on the planet competing week in and week out at stunning venues around the world."

Bruno Marty, Infront’s Executive Director Winter Sports, said: "The United States is one of the major sports markets worldwide and – with its successful athletes and prestigious races – also a key nation in skiing. The prolonged agreement with Universal Sports ensures that the extensive US audience is connected to the FIS World Cup events on a long-term basis. Universal Sports has acquired the rights to transmit an impressive 1,000 events to TV screens across the country over the next five years - in turn this will generate comprehensive exposure for one of the most popular winter sports in the world."

"In the past you'd see one or two big races broadcast on TV each season, but FIS World Cup is about a full season of skiing with a million factors coming into play at each race," said Bode Miller, five-time Olympic medalist. "The guys who are fast all season are able to process all of those factors, break them down and take the right amount of risk. You can't see that in one race. It's cool that Universal Sports is stepping up to show the full World Cup story."

In a separate agreement with Infront, Universal Sport has also acquired the media rights for the 2013 FIS Alpine and Nordic World Ski Championships. The events will take place from 4 to 17 February 2013 in Schladming, Austria, and 20 February to 4 March 2011 in Val di Fiemme, Italy respectively.

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