Over the past few years, NBC has also been in the business of streaming and broadcasting ski racing events. Last winter, live and on-demand World Cup cross-country skiing could be viewed on NBC’s Olympic Channel. The Olympic Channel was a subscription-based pay-to-view service offered by NBC on either its website or through its cable TV broadcast.
Watching the World Cup, in all its snow sliding varieties, remains an option for the 2018-2019 season. On October 22, U.S. Ski and Snowboard and NBC announced a new product in it’s NBC Sports Gold streaming menu.
NBC Sports Gold will offer its “Snow Pass” as its gateway to view World Cups online in the U.S. for those without the NBC Sports cable lineup. (As FasterSkier understands, consumers who have access to the NBC Sports channel suite through their cable provider should be able to stream World Cup content online with a pre-existing login.)
As the “Snow Pass” name suggests, you can purchase a seasonal subscription, or pass, for $69.99 that allows live and on-demand Internet access to every stop on the World Cup for several winter sports starting October 27. Those sports include alpine skiing, ski jumping, nordic combined, freestyle, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, and biathlon.
According to the press release, the “Snow Pass” complements, “hundreds of hours of Olympic winter sport programming airing across NBC, NBCSN, [and] Olympic Channel.” (NBC, NBCSN, and the Olympic Channel are cable-based channels and are separate from the “Snow Pass”.)
For biathlon, the “Snow Pass” is a new model. Here in the U.S., free live streaming and replays of IBU World Cup biathlon events have been available on the Eurovision website. This year, it appears the Eurovision live feed may be blocked in the U.S. Viewers will need either a cable subscription that includes NBC’s suite of cable sports channels or a viable “Snow Pass” web-login to view IBU World Cup biathlon.
According to the “Snow Pass” biathlon calendar, NBC will be carrying the 2019 IBU World Championships in Östersund, Sweden. The “Snow Pass” gains subscribers access to those Östersund races.
The “Snow Pass” also includes online access to view cross-country World Cups. The NBC World Cup cross-country schedule spans from the November 24, classic sprint in Ruka, Finland through the freestyle pursuits on March 24, in Quebec, Canada. All regular World Cup stops are scheduled as both streamed events and cable broadcast.
October 22nd’s press release states, “The pass also features live and on-demand coverage of the FIS World Championships, which take place every other year, from February–March 2019.” For alpine skiing, nordic combined, freestyle, snowboarding, and biathlon, all respective World Championship broadcast rights have been secured by NBC.
For fans of cross-country one scheduling omission stands out.
The 2019 Nordic Ski World Championship cross-country races in Seefeld, Austria are not listed as streamed or broadcast events on NBC’s platform. Purchasing a “Snow Pass”, as it currently stands, does not include access to view the World Championship cross-country races. FasterSkier has been told but has not confirmed, that the price tag for the Seefeld World Championship feed was exorbitant.
Veteran cross-country race announcer Chad Salmela, of “Here comes Diggins” fame, has been hired to add commentary to NBC’s events on the cross-country and biathlon schedule. Last season, most World Cup races streamed live on the Olympic Channel web-platform did not include live commentary.
FasterSkier will report on any developments regarding U.S. broadcast rights to the cross-country events at the Seefeld World Championships.