Alpine skiing turns to former F1 boss Ecclestone for advice


SÖLDEN, Austria (AP) – The International Ski Federation turns to Bernie Ecclestone for advice, hoping the former Formula 1 boss can do in alpine skiing what he has done in motor racing in the past .

FIS President Johan Eliasch said on Friday he had approached Ecclestone to be part of a new advisory board, intended to help the ski governing body shape the future of the sport.

“Bernie has done incredibly well with Formula 1, brought it from a sport that was not so well recognized to a world super sport. I always appreciate his contribution. The idea is that he is part of it. ‘a future FIS advisory board,’ said Eliasch, who was speaking on the eve of the opening races of the World Cup season in the Austrian Alps this weekend.

Ecclestone, who turns 91 next Thursday, gained a commercial grip on F1 in the late 1970s by selling his television rights. Four decades later, the British business mogul had full commercial control over the sport when he stepped down in 2017.

Eliasch hopes that Ecclestone’s experience can help alpine skiing improve its global marketing.

“It is not the question of knowing if, it is the question of when, because I do not think that there is any other international federation which has not centralized its management of rights or which is in the process of to do it, ”Eliasch said.

The problem with decentralized rights management became evident this week, as ski fans in the United States were not sure for long if they could see this weekend’s races, which include American riders like Mikaela Shiffrin, Nina O’Brien and Paula Moltzan in Saturday’s women’s giant slalom, and Ryan Cochran-Siegle and River Radamus in Sunday’s men’s GS.

It only became clear on Friday that the races will be shown in the United States on an online streaming service.

“I’m very, very worried about this. It was one of my commitments, to centralize the management of rights, ”said Eliasch. “This is a great example of why it is so important that we are in control. It shouldn’t even be a possibility that the races are not visible, especially in a market as large for us as the United States.

Ecclestone would not be the only FIS adviser in old age, since Peter Schröcksnadel, 80, the former president of the Austrian Ski Federation, is chairman of the Alpine Future Vision working group, which was installed after the Eliasch’s election last June.

“He’s very active and has a lot of great ideas,” Eliasch said. “It’s a bit early to deliberate on what we’re going to do in the future. We are evaluating many possibilities, including increasing night races and different schedules to make races less travel-intensive. Also, the formats, to make them more attractive. And to bring races to more destinations.


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