Universal Sports snaps up FIS World Cup rights

The US network’s deal with FIS distribution partner Infront Sports & Media comprises all alpine skiing, ski jumping, cross country, Nordic combined, snowboard and freestyle World Cup races. The contract includes coverage of nearly 200 events per season from the start of the 2011-12 campaign this November.

The new agreement with Universal Sports includes full live coverage as well as delayed action and highlights for television including terrestrial, cable, satellite, and broadband platforms. The rights also include radio and internet broadcasts including mobile rights and video on demand on a free or pay basis. The deal covers the USA, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Infront’s media rights portfolio comprises FIS World Cup events in around 30 countries around the world.

“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 US,” said Universal Sports CEO David Sternberg. “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 of winter sports, added: “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 a separate agreement with Infront, Universal Sports has also acquired the media rights for the 2013 FIS Alpine and Nordic World Ski Championships. The Alpine Championships will take place from February 4-17, 2013, in Schladming, Austria, while the Nordic skiing event will be staged from February 20 to March 4 in Val di Fiemme, Italy.