Eurovision Sport, the sports arm of the European Broadcasting Union, and Scout Gaming, the fantasy sports technology company, have designed a fantasy game on behalf of the Austrian Ski Federation (ÖSV).
The ‘Ski Austria Expert’ game launches this weekend and is the first project delivered as part of a tie-up between Eurovision Sport and Scout Gaming.
The launch of the game also comes as the International Ski Federation (FIS) put the finishing touches to its own mobile game that will be released at the start of 2020.
Ski Austria Expert is a manager simulation game that allows fans to create their fantasy alpine ski team for the Austrian ski season and with selected athletes scoring points based on their performances at races.
Scout Gaming’s agreement with the Eurovision Sport, which was announced in September, includes the provision of platform licences to Eurovision Sport, its sports clients and EBU member broadcasters.
Eurovision Sport holds a media rights agreement with the ÖSV from 2018-19 to 2020-21, with the option of an additional three seasons. The deal covers broadcast rights in Europe (excluding Austria and Germany) to FIS Skiing World Cup stages in Austria and also entails elements aimed at developing digital and immersive exploitation.
Franck Choquard, Eurovision Sport’s head of content and servicing, said today (Thursday): “It is exciting to be adding gaming to the portfolio of services that Eurovision Sport can offer to Members and federations. Fan engagement is constantly evolving, and the use of fantasy games is an effective way to attract new supporters, create communities and increase audience interaction.”
Peter Schröcksnadel, the ÖSV president, said that, through the new game, the federations aims to “win new target groups and enthuse people who have not come across skiing so far”.
Speaking at this week’s Host City conference in Glasgow, FIS secretary general Sarah Lewis said that the federation’s official mobile esports game would launch on January 9.
The FIS World Cup ski racing game will be free to download and is designed to bring new participants into the sport, Lewis added.
Talking about the impact of esports events on the sport of skiing, Lewis noted: “This is a new public and a different public in a lot of cases. We have a lot of research run through our own applications that show around 10 per cent of those participants are interested or become interested in actually participating in the sport.”
At the start of 2018, FIS signed an exclusive mobile games agreement with Session Games Inc., the Vancouver-based developer of action sports games for iOS and Android devices.
FIS is also looking to develop ski jumping and snowboarding games in time for the 2019-20 season.
Talking about wider initiatives undertaken to drive more participation, Lewis said: “Ten years ago we set up a programme called ‘Bring Children to the Snow’ because there was the proven research that if you hadn’t already participated in snow sports activities by the time you were 14 and living in the Alpine region, then you were unlikely ever to do so.
“So we decided to take action and get together with all stakeholders and implement programmes. This has been very successful. Over the ten-year period there have been over four million participants and events taking place in 65 countries.
“We’ve been working together with all of the different interested parties, from tourism [bodies], resorts, the national bodies, the ski industry, ski schools, mountain railways and all of the different entities. Together we’ve co-created and we’re all much better [for it].”