FIS Spotlight: International Ski and Snowboard Federation Celebrates 100-year Anniversary, Embraces Future of Digital (3-Part Series)

FIS has also experimented heavily with AI in order to produce more 9:16 and 16:9 content

Snow sports are at the centre of the 100-year anniversary of FIS, the International Ski and Snowboard Federation, which covers all things cold and hilly. This year sees FIS celebrating 13 disciplines, 140 member associations, thousands of athletes and their support teams, over 7,000 events annually, and countless volunteers. SVG Europe takes deep dive into the latest technological – and philosophical – developments at FIS in a new three-part series.

Aerial trajectory: FIS Celebrates 100-year Anniversary and Embraces the Future of Digital

FIS manages the Olympic disciplines of alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, ski jumping, Nordic combined, freestyle, freeski and snowboarding, including setting the international competition rules. In June this year, freeride also became an FIS discipline, following the Freeride World Tour and FIS having joined forces in the 2023 season. FIS is also recognized by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and manages para alpine, para Nordic and para snowboard.

Benjamin Stoll, director of digital and innovation at the International Ski and Snowboard Federation, says of the anniversary: “We are using this anniversary as an occasion to really celebrate the traditions, the achievements, and the fascination of the different disciplines, but also to a wider extent the sports and then to look into the future as well.

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Tapping Into Talent: FIS on Building a New Fanbase Through Athlete-driven Content and Social Media Interaction

FIS launched FIS TV in August 2023 for the Park and Pipe Junior World Championships in Cardrona, New Zealand. Less than one year on and the channel is growing rapidly, with the federation tapping into athlete-created content to pull new audiences from social media to the over the top (OTT) streaming channel, as well as its rights holders’ linear content.

Stoll says: “We are very, very happy with the progress for FIS TV. This was a first year as a soft launch and providing this as a platform to the fans, but also to the national associations and the athletes, because one thing we see is that there’s a shift of behaviour and value, especially in the younger audiences so we need to create appealing content for new global fans.

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Facing the Future: How the International Ski and Snowboard Federation Is Taking AI by the Horns

Over the past season, the FIS has experimented heavily with artificial intelligence (AI) in order to produce more 9:16 and 16:9 content, and to distribute it automatically, as quickly as possible. On the results of these AI tests, Stoll says they are, “very, very good.” Snow sports tend to be already optimized for 9:16 formats, with most competitions taking the form of starting at the top of a hill, followed by a swift trajectory down to the bottom.

“We are doing this in 16:9 and most of the sports like ski alpine, ski jumping, snowboard and free ski, the competitions always have a clear start and end per athlete. So that works really well,” says Stoll. “We have some other sports with a mass start, such as cross country where it’s more about how do we deal with this? This is ongoing exploration. But where there’s individual runs or jumps, this is working really, really well in 16:9.”

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