Aerial trajectory: FIS celebrates 100-year anniversary and embraces the future of digital

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.

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 recognised by the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) and manages para alpine, para Nordic and para snowboard.

100 years in the making

Benjamin Stoll, director of digital and innovation at the International Ski and Snowboard Federation, commented on 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.

“You have a massive tradition of snow sports that we need to be true to. At the same time, we need to modernise the products, we need to modernise the media outreach, we need to modernise the engagement across all the different sports. And I think what is important, although FIS is our organisation that aggregates different sports, we also need to acknowledge that those are different communities with different needs.”

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“Especially when looking into digital value creation, we need to learn faster about those needs and try to be a better service provider,” continues Stoll, on how FIS will continue to serve its members for another 100 years. “We have written a strategy called Centralised Digital Platform Strategy over the last year, and at the core of this is turning FIS into a platform and service with respective value creation for all its stakeholders.”

New focus

The new FIS focus drills down to three different dimensions: the first one is content; the second one is channels; and third one is services.

As part of its celebrations and with an eye on the future and content, FIS created a web series called #FIS100 – Stories from the love of snow sports. Each episode is between three and five minutes long and uses athlete-led storytelling.

Notes Stoll: “Here in particular we are looking into storytelling upon the different disciplines, also upon different characters and their performances, but also with the outlook into the future – what will the next 10 or 100 years look like? So we narrate through the stories of the athletes with the objective to reach younger global fans.”

He continues: “At the same time, in order to generate the traffic and the engagement, we always take micro stories, micro narratives and short-form content and spread those out across Instagram, X, Facebook and TikTok in order to reach global audiences and then drive them to FIS TV to see the full episode. Here we’ve seen some amazing results. So until today the videos have gained more than 150,000 video views, and the promotional micro stories have gained more than eight million views before having released the last episode out of a total of 17.”

Currency of content

Producing more content is key to taking FIS forward over the next 100 years, says Stoll. “Content is the most important currency, so our task there is to create more content, to create better content and then increase the respective distribution in order to develop new audiences, but also to continue to satisfy existing audiences. And with doing that, also be a very, very good partner and platform for all our existing rights owners.”

He concludes: “What we’ve seen is that especially on social media and digital, this is all about new perspectives. This is all about emotions and this is all about storytelling, and this is something that we need to further enable.”

Read more Tapping into talent: FIS on building a new fanbase through athlete-driven content and social media interaction  

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