Infront Sports and Media has entered into an eight-year deal with the FIS, starting from the 2026-2027 World Cup season just a year after they appeared to set to get involved in a legal dispute ©Getty Images

The International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) and sports marketing agency Infront Sports and Media have struck a deal to centralise international broadcast rights for all World Cup events covering eight seasons a year after the two parties appeared to be heading for the law courts. 

The new agreement, which the FIS claim is a "giant leap in its ambitions", is set to run from the 2026-2027 to the 2033-2034 campaigns.

FIS President Johan Eliasch claimed the new centralised media rights framework will start a "new chapter of prosperity for our FIS family", arguing that it will create a better product and generate more money for athletes, disciplines and National Federations.

The deal represents both a victory and loss for the controversial head of FIS.

He had made it a key election pledge in 2021 that he wanted to centralise FIS marketing and run it without having to use an agency.

The Swede has now backed down on keeping everything in-house following the threat last year of legal action from the Swiss-based Infront 

Under the terms in the new deal, the FIS will have full control over the sales process, while Infront will provide exclusive marketing implementation and international operations services.

The eight-year agreement will generate more than €100 million (£86 million/$110 million) above the figure in the current terms with a minimum sales guarantee of over €600 million (£518 million/$665 million), it is claimed.

The agreement ensures greater financial rewards for the FIS and its members, while Infront maintain a leading role within the sport. 

Infront currently controls the individual rights agreements with all the major National Association, except Austria, a situation that will continue until the new deal comes into force. 

FIS President Johan Eliasch had faced opposition of his plans to centralise media rights for World Cup events from some members ©Getty Images
FIS President Johan Eliasch had faced opposition of his plans to centralise media rights for World Cup events from some members ©Getty Images

Other highlights include access to the FIS’ digital content with free usage of archive footage and rights to photography, behind-the-scenes and course coverage as well as the production of documentaries, television series and motion pictures.

The problems of the last two years appear to have been forgotten, with Eliasch crediting Infront for increasing the footprint and visibility of World Cup events over the past 20 years.

"This is a time of enormous opportunity," said the former chief executive of sports company Head. 

"There are new technologies to be harnessed, new audiences to inspire, and new markets to explore.

"Since much of what we want and need to do depends on it, centralisation of our sport’s media rights management has been central to our strategy.

"The announcement we are making today with a new framework allowing for a centralised approach begins a new chapter of prosperity for the FIS family.

"It will allow for a better product and planning, a digital first approach, more money, investment, and opportunities for our athletes, our disciplines, and our national associations.

"It will enable us to promote our sport far more widely across all social media channels, reaching a new generation of snow sports fans.

"Finally, it provides us the opportunity to determine our own destiny.

"For our sport and a stronger FIS."

The FIS claim the new deal with Infront is a
The FIS claim the new deal with Infront is a "giant leap in its ambitions" ©Getty Images

Bruno Marty, senior vice-president of ProSports for Infront, claimed that the new set-up will increase the "attractiveness, exposure and impact of the FIS World Cup globally".

"We have a well-established partnership with FIS and its member associations for more than two decades and have always believed in the strong potential of the FIS World Cup," he said. 

"This new approach for our collaboration with world skiing and snowboarding will allow Infront to fully support FIS’ initiative and the entire snow-sport family to continue to further grow the value of FIS World Cup media rights revenues based on our expertise and in-depth knowledge of the sports media industry."