Infront retains Norwegian Ski Federation contract; NRK and TV2 to share domestic rights
The Norwegian Ski Federation has today extended its exclusive international media rights agreement with Infront, the international sports marketing agency, for FIS World Cup events until 2025-26.
The five-year renewal will come into effect from the 2021-22 season and marks the seventh time it has been prolonged since Infront and its predecessors began the partnership with the federation in 1995.
Infront’s existing deal with the body was due to expire next year but the extended agreement will now take the partnership beyond 30 years.
Under the extension, Infront will hold rights outside of Norway to events staged in the country, including the men's and women's alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ski jumping and nordic combined.
Stefan Krauss, Infront vice-president winter sports, said: "Norway is one of the leading countries in the winter sports market, which is why we are proud of our long-term involvement with the Norwegian Ski Federation. We are happy that we finalised this prolongation."
Erik Røste, president of the Norwegian Ski Federation, added: "For several decades, Infront has been an important partner of the Norwegian Ski Association. Thanks to Infront, the Norwegian World Cup competitions will continue to be distributed to international broadcasters, which is crucial for the position of the Norwegian Ski Federation as an important FIS World Cup organiser."
Infront, which is owned by China's Wanda Sports Group, is the dominant agency in skiing, with marketing agreements in place with all but three of the national ski associations (Austria, Switzerland and Romania) that host FIS World Cup events worldwide.
The Norwegian Ski Federation has also today agreed domestic television rights deals with NRK, the public-service broadcaster, and TV2, the commercial and pay-television broadcaster, for five years.
The agreements begin with the 2021-22 season and will run until the end of the 2025-26 campaign.
NRK’s deal is a renewal as it presently holds rights until the end of the 2020-21 season under a five-year contract.
The broadcasters will share coverage of all World Cup events and will also have rights to any new competitions launched during the five-year period.
The rights deals will provide fans in Norway with free-to-air access to all World Cups organised in the country, as well as Norwegian championships and other national competitions.
NRK’s broadcasting director Thor Gjermund Eriksen said it was important to collaborate with TV2 explaining that “as the rights market has developed, it is demanding for a public broadcaster such as NRK to buy the largest rights alone.”
Olav Sandnes, the TV2 chief executive, added that having two broadcasters for the sport “is only positive for Norwegian TV viewers.”
The Para World Championships for snow sports (cross-country skiing, biathlon, downhill skiing and snowboarding) will be held in Lillehammer in February 2021 and is also covered by the agreement.
In further developments today, NRK has extended its media rights deal for the Visma Ski Classics, the Europe-based long-distance cross-country skiing series, for five years.
The renewed agreement will run until the 2025-2026 season.
The deal was brokered by W sportsmedia, the Stockholm-based sports marketing agency that manages the series.