Cross-country skiing viewership down – but this woman offers hope – NRK Sport – Sports news, scores and broadcast schedule

Cross-country skiing viewership down – but this woman offers hope – NRK Sport – Sports news, scores and broadcast schedule

– Germany has historically been the most important contributor to the welfare side. It's a large and populous country, so the fact that Germans have profiles in cross-country skiing is the most important thing from an international perspective, says NRK expert Torgeir Björn.

He points out that at the height of cross-country skiing, Germany had a strong crew, and Justyna Kowalczyk aroused enormous interest in Poland.

1.71 million Germans watched the men's New Year's race on ZDF, according to the AGF.

– Tour de Ski is important in Germany. Hopefully there will be more and more in the coming years, says Germany in Katarina Hennig's profile for NRK.

Dramatic decline

Six seasons ago – in 2017/18 – the cross-country skiing World Cup had 1.16 billion viewers in total. It decreased last season to 690 million.

This corresponds to a decrease of 41 percent.


Various factors are indicated. Switching rights between channels, the failure of sports results from major countries, and the absence of Russia.

Additional hours on state television contributed to a significant increase in viewership in Russia. It reached its peak when Norway dropped the Tour de Ski in 2020/21 due to coronavirus. Now Russian viewers are no longer included in the account. Probably hardly anyone cares there.

This trend is also evident in Norway, Sweden and Finland. Gradually, fewer people were watching cross-country skiing.

There is only one exception in the five major markets: Germany.

Shock: Sweden were heavy favorites against the Russian team during the sprint relay in Beijing, but Germany came out on top.

Photography: Odd Andersen/AFP

This improvement is credited to two women: Katharina Hennig and Victoria Karl. The pair claimed a thrilling Olympic gold medal in the sprint relay in Beijing in 2022.

Last year, both distinguished themselves with individual victories at the World Cup.

– Viewers see that hard work pays off, and when there is more excitement, Hennig tells NRK.

Germany against the tide

Victoria Karl claimed her first World Cup win in Trondheim before Christmas. In the first three stages of the ski tour, there were two second places, which is the second in the summary. On the men's side, Friedrich Moch is in sixth place, just one second behind Jan Thomas Jensen, who is in third place.

The pink German arrow points upward.


On site in Toblach was the German public broadcaster ZDF with a large team. Interest in athletes is significantly greater than it has been in a long time.

-We have more time in front of the TV, and more young people watch competitions. This is good for cross-country skiing in Germany, Victoria Karl smiles to the national broadcaster.

She believes that results are the main reason for success, as well as high activity on social media. The German star hopes that there will be more live races on the free-to-air channels ARD and ZDF.

note! You can listen to all stages of the Tour de Ski NRK Sport. On Wednesday, the sprint race in Davos continues from 2.30pm.

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Najuma Ojukwu

Najuma Ojukwu

"Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner."

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