Today, we are pleased to present a new column "Inside the Cross-Country World Cup", contributed by FIS Race Director Cross-Country. In the future, this space, along with the Tour de Ski Website, will be used to convey ideas and behind-the-scenes information from the Cross-Country World.
Overview World Cup strategy until 2013 and further
What will it mean to have a long-term World Cup strategy? It will mean that the standard of organization will only be set by carrying out events; repeaters, or venues frequently appearing on the World Cup calendar, will be in a key position to secure the quality of the series through their performance and of course, be at the forefront of introducing any improvements. It is a fact that investments are only done if events are carried out frequently. Consequently, if no investments and development steps are taken, a venue should and will not be a World Cup resort in the future.
Integration of new markets and countries will mean fewer competitions for existing or traditional host countries with several World Cup events in the past.
Another main area of our focus is the TV production and establishing a constantly high quality throughout the season. A key element of what we can present to TV audiences is on-site atmosphere. Providing emotional experiences to the local spectators must become a major focus beside the sport. The World Cup events need to improve their overall promotion; having poor or no atmosphere on site kills the whole event. Our goal is to grow the marketing value by supporting the enhancement of the non-sport elements during our World Cups.
I'm pleased that the FIS Council and the Cross-Country Executive Board approved the Cross-Country World Cup calendars until 2013. One of their core elements is to provide even more highlights and introduce, in the no-title-year every four years, a new highlight called the Rocky Mountain Challenge, starting from 2012.
New in World Cup 08/09
This season, we will have a break between the qualification of the Team Sprint and the final. All athletes will have equal recovery time and it doesn't matter, in which heat you race during the qualification. At the same time, we will know the precise starting time for the final and it makes it easier to get the best broadcasting slot.
In Trondheim, in addition to the regular World Cup points, the athletes can win bonus World Cup points on the 30 km for ladies and 50 km for men. At approx. each 8 km there will be 15 - 10 - 5 WC points for the top 3 athletes to win at the special bonus points.
Through the integration of the big World Cup final in Sweden (Stockholm/Falun), a total of 400 points, besides the 275 points in Trondheim (long distance races with bonus points) and 200 points available in Lahti, the battle for the World Cup winners will be stages in March 2009 where there are 875 points to win.
But let's start the World Cup season 2008/09 in Gällivare above the Arctic Circle where we are looking forward to seeing great sport performances with a lot of emotions and passion.
Yours Jürg Capol