Editor's Note: Cross-country skiing on television may not be the most pressing of issues in this country (other than wanting it), but it is interesting to see the attention paid by other nations, and the efforts (for better or worse) to make skiing on television more “spectator friendly.”
On October 8th-9th, FIS Marketing, led by Christian Knauth, organized a second successful FIS TV Workshop for Cross-Country Skiing. The goal was to identify key concepts for optimizing TV production for the FIS World Cup Cross-Country as well as the Cross-Country part of the FIS World Cup Nordic Combined. The seminar was led by Thomas Strobl, FIS TV Expert, and the participants included leading TV professionals from Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland along with representatives of the rights holder Infront Italy and other stakeholders including FIS Cross-Country leaders Vegard Ulvang, Tiit Pekk, JÃ¼rg Capol and FIS Race Director Nordic Combined Uli Wehling.
One of the main seminar subjects was TV production for the various events especially individual start races — one of the most challenging competition formats to produce — with a special focus on the type of preparation required from TV stations to optimize the quality of production. Further, the group of experts reviewed the FIS TV graphics developed and presented by Swiss Timing Sports Service. A recurring theme in the discussion was the need to deliver strong emotions to both the TV viewers and on-site spectators. An attempt to improve this during the coming season will be made at the World Cup in Beitostoelen (NOR) which will feature the first trial for using different starting intervals in an individual start race so that the top-ranked athletes will start with longer intervals (e.g. 60 sec) compared with the first starters (e.g. 15 sec). Another possibility for better conveying emotions will be the use of the so-called â€˜leader’s box’ for the current leader to wait in the finish as already used in Alpine Skiing.
â€œThe TV Expert Seminar provided a great opportunity for exchanging experiences and opinions and for sharing knowledge. Thanks to everyone's active participation and frank and open discussions, we’re now in a position to take a step forward in delivering a good show for Cross-Country spectators,â€ summarized Thomas Strobl.