Contacting NBC Sports re: figure skating coverage

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by paskatefan, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. paskatefan

    paskatefan Well-Known Member

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    Administrators - if this is not the appropriate forum to post this thread, please move it the forum you consider the most appropriate.

    I doubt that I'm the only one who is totally disgusted with NBC's paltry coverage of the Grand Prix Series. While the men are my favorite discipline, I really wanted to see the competitors in all four disciplines. It was a travesty that very little of dance was shown, and nothing of pairs on US TV. Universal Sports is no longer available to Comcast subscribers (as of 1/1/12), and not everyone is in a position to afford subscribing to icenetwork.com . How in the world can we build on the sport (not just during the Olympics), if NBC shows so little of it? I have written to NBC Sports to voice all my concerns @ nbcsportshelp@nbcuni.com . I can't guarantee we'll get a decent response from TPTB, but perhaps if LOTS of fs fans bombard them with messages expressing their dissatisfaction with their coverage, maybe we can somehow make an impact, and influence how fs is shown on network TV. NBC, you still have time to redeem yourself before US Nationals!
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
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  2. Vash01

    Vash01 Fan of Julia, Elena, Anna, Liza, and Vera

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    I will certainly contact NBC. It's better than not making any effort at all.

    As a side note, subscribing to icenetwork was a waste of money for me. They did not show the GP series live. I heard they were going to show videos for a very limited amount of time. My schedule did not allow me to catch that. I don't get Universal sports. If not for fellow fsuers posting links here, I would not have seen any of the GP skating for ice dance and pairs. NBC has acted as if the pairs discipline does not even exist. In ice dance, why could they not show at least the top 3?
     
  3. peibeck

    peibeck Letting Poje be on top

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    All of the GP events currently have videos still on IceNetwork, including the GPF. (Not sure if the junior GPF is there or not). I haven't heard anything about them only having them for a limited amount of time. It would be awesome if they showed the events live again, but I am sure there are not enough subscribers to make that economically feasible for the broadcast rights.

    It would be nice if NBC showed more, but since ratings have been down we're lucky to have any at all.
     
  4. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    Do we know yet what they plan to show of Nationals?
     
  5. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

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    A preliminary broadcast schedule for 2013 Nationals was posted in the TV Alerts forum as follows:
    Jan. 26, 2013: 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships NBC 3:00-6:00 p.m. [Pairs FS/Free Dance]
    Jan. 26, 2013: 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships NBC 9:00-11:00 p.m. [Ladies FS]
    Jan. 27, 2013: 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships NBC 4:00-6:00 p.m. [Men FS]
    Feb. 2, 2013: Skating Spectacular NBC 1:00-3:00 p.m.

    Pairs and Dance are being split into earlier and later groups again (at least it's same day for pairs) so I hope this means the last groups will be shown live on NBC.
    ETA: On Saturday, Jan. 26, the Pairs FS (later groups) currently is scheduled to end at 3 pm Central time/2 pm Eastern and the Free Dance (later groups) at 4:55 pm Central/5:55 pm Eastern, which seems to indicate that there will be live coverage of the final 4(?) pairs and 5(?) dance teams again.

    Re. 2013 Worlds: Is NBC going to show highlights (with barely a mention of pairs) one week later like they did this year for Worlds in Nice?

    ETA:
    2012 Skate America was broadcast live by IceNetwork (except for the second group of ladies' free skates that was shown live on NBC). IceNetwork stated up front that "Video from the rest of the events in the Grand Prix Series, including the 2012 Grand Prix Final, will be shown on-demand ONLY and be made available seven days after the end of each event." As a responsible consumer, it is up to you to know exactly what you are purchasing and your (inaccurate) "for a very limited amount of time" phrase indicates you still don't know what your IN subscription entails.

    I just checked IN and the GP Final videos are available on demand now, but no JGP Final videos this year (probably because the ISU has uploaded all of them on their JGP YouTube channel).
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2012
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  6. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    This was not IN's fault. Universal sports obtained exclusive broadcast rights from the ISU. IN does plan to show US nationals as far as I know as it does not fall under the same aegis as the ISU events. As for Worlds, who knows.
     
  7. peibeck

    peibeck Letting Poje be on top

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    Sorry I didn't mean to imply IN was at fault in some way. Yes NBC/Universal having exclusive rights did prevent IN from getting to broadcast most of the GP live. (At least they got to show some parts of Skate America live though.)

    But I still don't think IN draws enough of a subscriber base to compete with a big corportation like NBC to compete for live broadcast rights. I have to wonder if this year's ratings for NBC/Universal have improved with them having the first broadcast rights?

    IN is still very valuable in seeing the qualifying comps for me, even though I am usually catching up on them late.
     
  8. AJ Skatefan

    AJ Skatefan Well-Known Member

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    I think Ice Network is going to show most of Nationals live. IMO, that's worth the money in itself.
     
  9. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

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    Great idea
     
  10. AJ Skatefan

    AJ Skatefan Well-Known Member

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    I will email them too. I also wish they had shown some of the short programs.
     
  11. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

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    If NBC is only planning to have another 3-hour Worlds recap broadcast the week following 2013 Worlds, then perhaps we fans should focus on requesting they show the medal-winning, full programs in ALL four disciplines, including any standout short programs. It would be nice if they included highlight clips of the lower-placed U.S. pairs and dance teams (the top 10 finishes by Denney/Coughlin, Marley/Brubaker and Hubbell/Donohue last year were completely ignored by NBC, for example).
     
  12. RD

    RD Well-Known Member

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    I dunno...in this day and age of shrinking coverage I guess I'm just thankful they show anything at all in the first place.

    I suppose the one thing I'd ask for is coverage of short programs as well, even if it's only of the top finisher. Brief recaps are nice but I'd like a little more if possible.
     
  13. Skittl1321

    Skittl1321 Well-Known Member

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    Why does NBC refuse to acknowledge that the Short Programs exist? We haven't seen them all year!!! You don't just show half of a football game, the first half effects the score too!

    (I also just prefer shorts to longs, so it really annoys me.) I thought maybe we'd get some for nationals, but alas, no. At least they are going to show pairs- we haven't seen any all year.
     
  14. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    Um, because they have a limited amount of time and sponsorship devoted to skating? Interest in the US is simply not sufficiently high enough for the network to sell advertising minutes to sponsors. Other winter sports get even less coverage than figure skating. Frankly, unless it's golf, football or basketball, which make lots of $$$$$ for the networks, they really aren't interested. And I can't blame them.
     
  15. Willowway

    Willowway Well-Known Member

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    rfisher makes the point. This is not about what the networks like or prefer or are willing to air. It's numbers, nothing but. If they can't sell the advertising space to support skating broadcasts, minute by minute, then we're out of luck.

    Networks (other than PBS) are businesess, for profit businesses which are answerable to their stockholders. They don't give away time except to those community interests and charitable efforts that are appropriate - we're not it! I'd love the level of coverage that we once enjoyed but frankly, there aren't enough of us to warrant it - the advertisers would rather put their money elsewhere as our demographics, frankly, sort of stink (decreasing, aging and most important, with a decreasing spend potential. Look at the carping about a few dollars when anyone puts up tickets or services to anything skating-related - not a group noted for money to spend like, just for comparison, tennis where Mercedes or Rolex is happy to advertise as tennis fans, overall, are spending at that level). If the hard data supported advertising buys, we'd be fine but it doesn't.

    Not great but that's the situation at the moment - no one's fault, just is what it is.

    Letting the networks know what we want to see is never a bad thing. Expecting a change might be a little too optimistic if nothing else changes.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012
  16. RD

    RD Well-Known Member

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    Frankly, even for events that ARE popular, NBC has consistently shown scorn for its viewers and demonstrated it only cares about the "bottom line". See Olympics.
     
  17. Willowway

    Willowway Well-Known Member

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    Huh? I saw hours and hours and hours of Olympic coverage from London - I thought it was great.

    The bottom line is what they are supposed to care about, granted with some balance, but they're a business. If I have my retirement dollars (as we all do) in stocks or funds (which invest in stocks), I want them to be very aware of the bottom line because that's what successful businesses do. If you want a not-for-profit to broadcast the Olympics then we should make sure that PBS gets a shot at them or the US should go to a more British (BBC) sort of system but that's not likely.
     
  18. Macassar88

    Macassar88 Well-Known Member

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    Or the way that they ruined the majors in tennis. They would show one match on tape delay but buy the rights to both so that ESPN couldn't show it.
     
  19. RD

    RD Well-Known Member

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    Two words: tape delay.
     
  20. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    And that was because the overwhelming majority of viewers watched between 8:00-12:00 pm. Most people are at work during the day and don't bother. The online options showed events in real time, but not the major networks. Why would they want to waste advertiser's money showing an event when viewership would be minimal? That would be a very poor business strategy. Before the internet, all olympic events were tape delayed if the Os weren't in the US and nobody thought twice about it.

    I do wish the ISU hadn't sold the GP rights solely to NBC/Universal who then made the decision to limit the online viewing to those with DirectTV or cable. I get why they did as this was a lateral move by DirectTV to increase subscribers. I have DirectTV, but I didn't like this decision. I understand why it was done, but I don't like it. It all comes down to money and skating simply doesn't generate the type of revenue to make it available. It doesn't in Russia. Only cable TV shows skating. Right now, Japan has about the only sufficient public interest to make skating commercially viable to TV networks. Cable sports and some free online TV sites are it and you take a risk with many of the online TV sites and picking up a virus on your computer. Sigh. Maybe skating needs another really good scandal. :)
     
  21. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

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    I've been informed by a reliable source that the only reason that there is any Grand Prix coverage on NBC at all is because U.S. Figure Skating bought the limited rights from Universal Sports (apparently NBC does not own the broadcast rights to any ISU events besides Skate America?) and sold the advertising in order to make the telecasts possible.

    My guess is that short programs are rarely shown these days because NBC has elected to do the least amount of video editing and post-production work possible in order to keep down their costs in putting together the telecasts.

    However, I don't see why we fans shouldn't still request that NBC make improvements in their coverage, such as showing the top pairs' and dance teams' performances (in addition to Davis/White and Virtue/Moir), the best short programs, etc. in a 2013 Worlds recap telecast IF one is scheduled to happen.
     
  22. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

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    Part of the access issue can be blamed on Universal. The reason they are on so few broadcast systems is b/c they demanded their channel be carried as part of a sports premium package (I'm guessing this results in more ad sales/profits) and not on regular cable, like ESPN, etc. Most cable companies didn't want to do that, so they just don't carry Universal.

    With the Olys, you did have to sign in but all that was required was to have cable or internet service through one of any companies serving your area. In fact, I don't think I had to sign in when i was at home b/c when I went to the site, it automatically ID'ed me as "logged in through Comcast", or something like that. I did have to log in at work, though. :shuffle:

    And yes, part of the problem can be blamed on the ISU, for not also selling/providing IN with live broadcast rights.
     
  23. Rob

    Rob Beach Bum

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    When figure skating fans can demonstrate that they are buying boatloads of beer, soda, junk food, sports drinks, SUVs, electronics, sporting goods, insurance, and other products and shopping at Target, Sears or Best Buy, then they might start showing SPs with lots of commercials.
     
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  24. rfisher

    rfisher Satisfied skating fan

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    Actually, I think that was DirectTV's demand. Universal gets nothing from that sports package which is an extra charge by DirectTV to it's customers. That package is not exclusive NBC/Universal channels. In fact, NBC sports is not part of the deal. I'm dropping the package as soon as Worlds is over because I don't watch any of the other channels.
     
  25. alchemy void

    alchemy void it's time for the perkolator

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    Guys, we're not in 1996 anymore. I'm frankly astonished we get as many hours of coverage as we do from NBC, considering how old the broadcasts skew.

    Now the commentators NBC selects, that's an entirely different can of worms...
     
  26. CoyoteChris

    CoyoteChris New Member

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    Alas, it is a numbers game just like the new scoring system. I do contact Smuckers and tell them how much I appreciate them backing skating all these years, and I do buy their products, but in the end its the ratings. If the ratings are high, the networks can charge more bucks for the commercials...more bucks means more coverage....what if the ratings for the nats and the GPs matched the ratings for Olympic ice skating? I have a dream....my hope is that I will live to see the day when I sit down to my TV and see any program from around the world for a small fee I want to watch.
     
  27. Jammers

    Jammers Well-Known Member

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    NBC blows when it comes not just to figure skating but the Olympics as a whole.
     
  28. misskarne

    misskarne #408

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    Just wanted to point out, be thankful you have it at all. I don't think it's even an option on pay TV (cable) here in Australia.
     
  29. CoyoteChris

    CoyoteChris New Member

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    If I understand you, the winter Olympics are not covered on TV in Australia?
     
  30. misskarne

    misskarne #408

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    Well yes, they are. That is, however, the only coverage skating gets. Once every four years.

    EDIT: I was not referring to Jammers' post about the Olympics. I was referring to figure skating coverage in general.