Officially, winter is still a couple of months away, but the 2014-15 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup season starts next weekend, and Universal Sports will be along for many of the twists, turns, jumps, bumps and crashes.
Beginning with the action from Soelden, Austria on Oct. 25 and 26, the Olympic-style sports proponent will cover 65 events, encompassing 100 linear TV hours and more than 250 streaming ones to authenticated users over the course of the season that will culminate with the World Cup finals from Meribel, France in early March.
A venture between NBC Sports Group and Leo Hindery's InterMedia Partners, Universal Sports counts DirecTV, Dish, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Cox Communications, Verizon FiOS, CenturyLink Prism, Google Fiber and numerous regional cable and IPTV operators, among its affiliate base.
Universal Sports' schedule is also highlighted by the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships slated for Vail-Beaver Creek this February, ramping up the pressure on the U.S. ski team to perform well at home. The 2014-15 season will see Austria’s Marcel Hirscher and Anna Fenninger defending their overall World Cup titles against veterans Askel Lund Svindel from Switzerland, the U.S.'s Ted Ligety and Slovenia's Tina Maze, in what could be her final season, alongside the next generation of skiers including Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen and America's rising star, Mikaela Shiffrin.
Meanwhile, former skiing cynosureLindsey Vonn is working on her comeback following major knee surgery last January that sidelined her from competing in the Sochi Olympics. Vonn hopes to be race-ready by the Lake Louise World Cup speed races from Dec. 5-7 which will air live on Universal Sports. Already the most decorated American skier in history, Vonn has 59 World Cup race victories and she nees just three more to surpass Austrian legend. Annemarie Moser-Pröll.
Presented by Longines, Universal Sports’ broadcast coverage of the 2014-15 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup will feature the veteran play-by-play announcer Steve Porino and analyst Doug Lewis. This year’s telecasts will also sport the newly-designed Audi Race Room, where the analysts give viewers an insider’s look at the elite competition by breaking down the techniques and technologies behind individual performances.
“2015 was supposed to be a curtain call for two of the sport’s biggest stars, Bode Miller and Lindsey Vonn, but Miller, Vonn and Julia Mancuso have more in them and are all back,” Porino said. “I predict that we’re also going to watch Mikaela Shiffrin bud from best slalom skier in the world to one of the best skiers, period. And Ted Ligety will continue to cement his legend as one of the greatest giant slalom skiers to have ever lived by adding another World Championship title.”
As for the internationals, Porino said "fans need to tune in to watch the male version of Shiffrin in 20-year-old Norwegian Henrik Kristoffersen, who is the youngest male Olympic alpine medalist ever. He’s as impressive as three-time overall World Cup winner Marcel Hirscher, who at 25 is the atypical Austrian: slight in stature, big on personality, and he still calls his dad from the starting gate. It’s hard to imagine who will stand in his way this season.”
Live TV coverage of the 2014-15 FIS Alpine Ski World Cup begins Saturday, Oct. 25, at 6:30 a.m. (ET) with the women’s giant slalom from Soelden, Austria, and continues with the men’s giant slalom the following day at 7:30 a.m. Live streaming begins at 3:30 a.m. on both days.
Check out Universal Sports' Alpine Ski World Cup schedule here.