The media has often gotten the blame for changes that have occurred in Nordic skiing. So now the FIS has asked the media community what they think about the Nordic World Cup.
The questioning occurred during the World Championships in Oberstdorf this last winter, where accredited media personnel answered.
62 members of the media community from 16 different countries participated. 48 percent were from central Europe and 42 percent were from northern Europe. 64 percent were from written publications and 31 percent were from TV/radio.
The largest development potential for the World Cup is in the areas of TV-coverage and market development.
The interest for World Cup Nordic skiing has increased over the last three years in central Europe while it has not changed in northern Europe.
Sports such as soccer, tennis, cycling and motor-sports are more of a competition to Nordic skiing then other ski-sports (biathlon, alpine and other Nordic areas) when seen in terms of public interest.
Nordic skiing has become a sport that is largely associated with doping.
Changes in the sport over the last few years have increased its image but it is its long tradition that makes it necessary to be careful in respect to future changes.
What should the FIS do to improve the World Cup?
– Improve and standardize TV-coverage
– Standardize the setup of races
– Let the media receive more information about the athletes
– Debate to add a season final, such as in the alpine World Cup
What the FIS should not do:
– Do not split the sprint and distance events into two separate parts
– Do not shorten the World Cup season by reducing the total number of disciplines or races
– Do not continue to change the rules
Those from northern Europe were most against any future changes in the sport.
Those from central Europe want fewer athletes in each race.
The answers vary greatly when it comes to interval starts vs. mass-starts. While the one side wants to do away with interval starts all together, the other side is strongly against this, at least for the 50km races.
There is little enthusiasm for classic sprints.
The numerous changes that have occurred have made it confusing for spectators. FIS should set up one program that they hold to for the next few years.
Make World Cup races larger attractions by including side events such as concerts and other shows. Include more big-city sprints and better quality of coverage in the stadiums by using big-screen televisions and cameras along the whole course.
Some conclusions would be that Nordic skiing has benefited from the changes brought by sprint and pursuit races. At the same time it is a sport that lives by its traditions and new changes must be considered extensively. It is most important to create continuity within the sport.