IBSF and FIL Broadcasts in the United States

From the Home Office in Durham, USA

Note: This guide is mostly for viewers in the United States. Odds are if you’re in Canada, CBC’s likely got something lined up for you, and if you’re in Europe, the races can be found online (mostly, but more on that below).

In years past, watching sliding sports online has been a bit of a pain. Some heats were broadcast on YouTube, some on Digotel, some on TV, and when they were going to be on TV later in the day sometimes not at all. The only way to get anything consistently was to invest in a good VPN account to circumvent the various regional blocks and watch online.

For the 2016/2017 season, however, things have actually streamlined quite nicely.

We’ll start with the IBSF, who kicks off their World Cup schedule this coming weekend (Friday 12/2 & Saturday 12/3). In the 2015/2016 season, most races were shown on YouTube courtesy the IBSF’s YouTube channel (linked below) for the first run, with the second run being placed on NBCSports.com (at the time called NBC Live Extra). For the coming season, NBC has the United States entirely covered, with most events viewable online at NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app on your smartphone or tablet. The only exception to these are various events that will be shown on live TV on Universal HD or the occasional event on NBC Sports Network. The link to the full press release about which channel you can find which event.

For luge, things are a little trickier. The FIL is once again using Digotel for their online stream. Digotel was used a few years back by the IBSF before flipping over to the YouTube channel that it operates now. Digotel is seemingly geoblocking events in various home countries (at least nobody in Germany was able to watch the racing from Winterberg last week). Thankfully, USA Luge has gotten it worked out with the FIL where they will be streaming the two United States races (Lake Placid Friday 12/2 & Saturday 12/3, and Park City Friday 12/16 & Saturday 12/17) on USA Luge’s website (stream linked below). The other events will be available through the FIL’s website (also linked below).

If you’re an FIL Natural Track fan, it’s going to be spotty at best. There was some great naturbahn racing streamed last season streamed on the FIL website through Eversport, but no streaming information has been made available for this season.

That brings us to international viewers. Right now the IBSF YouTube channel is carrying the events unless you live in some countries (usually Germany, Canada, and Great Britain) that have their own broadcast rights for it. Unfortunately, that information is based a lot on what the rights carriers want to do with it. Thankfully, in the United States, NBC has finally realized that everyone wins when you have all of the races available online.

As for FIL internationally, you’re in a little better luck (unless you’re in Germany, which has 40% of the FIL schedule). The races should be fully available using the FIL’s website. Unless you live in Italy, in which case you’re REALLY out of luck, because you’re entirely geoblocked from FIL World Cup races online.

So that’s a rough guide as to how you can watch sliding sports online. If you’re really interested, and worried about any kind of geoblocking, a quality VPN provider is worth the investment. SlidingOnIce.com has used PureVPN in the past when there were blocking issues in the United States. Your results may vary.

For a full race by race schedule of both the IBSF World Cup and FIL World Cup, click here.

Related Links:

IBSF Broadcast Schedule (Courtesy USA Bobsled & Skeleton)
FIL Broadcast Schedule (Courtesy USA Luge)
IBSF YouTube Channel
FIL World Cup Streaming Link (except for Lake Placid and Park City)
USA Luge Live Stream for USA-Hosted Events
FIL Natural Track World Cup Streaming Page