One word: Twilight.
One word: Twilight.
Here's something else that might help make skating popular again. Continue to use 9 judges at ISU events, but replace one of them with Judge Judy. After each skater's performance, let her give a frank critique of it:
"You call that a triple axel?? You're an idiot!!!"
Do we consider hockey popular? (in the US it's not that popular but obviously more than figure skating).
Hockey is basically football on ice, so maybe part of the problem is that not many people do it b/c it's on ice? I don't think so though as probably only a small percent of people actually play football.
I still think if we let skaters do what they want and took out a lot of rules (maybe other than some basic ones like time limit etc(, it could be a lot more popular. People will come up with really interesting stuff, unlike today.
Limit the terms that one can sit on the ISU board to TWO (and ONLY two)!!!
a) Should eligible skaters be the ones who elect those who run the ISU?
b) Should the ISU be split in two? One organization for figure skating and the other for speed skating?
"When I was poor and I complained about inequality people said I was bitter, now I'm rich and I complain about inequality they say I'm a hypocrite. I'm beginning to think they just don't want inequality on the agenda because it is a real problem that needs to be addressed." - Russell Brand
YuNa and Mao fighting, on the ice...
I really think they should branch out and get new commentators. The NBC cast is horrendous. I'd love for them to really go out on a limb and hire someone like Tonya Harding to do dishy commentary. I bet people would tune in to see that.
So I would say hockey is quite popular in the US....given simply by the fact of how much money is thrown around in the hockey world.
Participating in winter sports requires a lot more resources and money than summer sports. It's been years since I've been to a skating rink, and I have no idea what it really feels like to ski or snowboard or play hockey. But I know what it feels like to kick a soccer ball around, or play catch, or race my friends down the street. These are all accessible (and inexpensive) sports most people grew up playing, thus making that vicarious participation more salient when we watch it on TV.
Then, on top of that, the US has a particularly rigid gender code when it comes to sports, so that marginalizes figure skating even more.
Yep, it looks pretty bleak for skating in terms of US popularity.
^ I agree.
Except a handful of sports such as football, baseball, basketball, and to a lesser degree, NASCAR, tennis, golf, what else is popular in the US?
I think figure skating will always remain a niche sport in the US. And I personally don't think it's a problem at all.
I agree with Screenie too many rules.....WAY too many rules.
Also... When people make fun of figure skating the mockery usually is centered around the artistry portion of the discipline. (The notion that it is a "dance," not a sport.) Most people understand and respect that it is a difficult sport, but when you add the....um.... "artistic element"....(music interp, costumes etc.)..... Well, that's when you get snickers and laughter. (Heck, I don't even like this part and I am a skater. ) What you need is an athletic event in addition to the traditional events (which are, let's face it, basically, "dances"). The athletic event would focus only on the technical quality of the items (like Top Jump, but with spins and a footwork sequence included at each level.) Of course there would have to be judges to score the event (so it would still be subjective to a point), but there would be no "artistic" component. This would be much more like a diving or aerial skiing event. Elements would be matched to "textbook" correctness with some leeway in choosing difficulty. For example, (for Seniors): Triple Edge Jump Combo Requirement. It would be up to the skater to choose the jumps in the combo after the required Triple Edge Jump. 3loop-3loop would beat 3sal-3loop in base points, but then there would be the preformance points for how well it was exceuted, so the 3sal-3loop could win. Add on a 2 Toe at the end to make a 3 jump combo. More base points. Now, it gets interesting.... Same for the other requirements on the list for each level. No costumes. No musical interpret. Absolutely no dancing.
I believe an event like this would be viewed as more of a "sport" with less subjective rules. Music interp?/Presentation? What does that even mean to most non-dancers? You can see someone step out of a jump. This makes more sense to an audience, and it would be easier to understand the scores, which in turn will make this appeal more to the general public.
And, not to be sexist, but this is true, (I actually asked teenaged boys this question), this type of sport would definitely appeal to more boys....So you'd have more skaters.
Last edited by museksk8r; 07-04-2010 at 04:00 PM.
The counter-point might be the whole '94 time period with the Nancy/Tonya debacle and the Ladies SP (or LP?) being in one of the top 10 broadcasts of all time in the US.
That at least proves that figure skating *can* be huge. Obviously there were a lot of extraordinary circumstances there, but I don't think curling has had a top-10 broadcast.... so there's some "there" there as Dick would say.
About how to "get there" (to popularity):
- i think the (necessary?) youth of skaters is a problem. they're kids. people are more into watching DRAMA and I think the older you get the more drama there is (e.g. real housewives), but maybe i'm wrong. i don't know, the real world doesn't really capture my attention anymore and i feel like "real housewives" gets more attention, but maybe it's just a matter of what demographic you're going for (12-18 vs 25+).
- I already said that I think all the rules make skating really super-boring and also make it harder for people to show off their skills (and personality),.. so yeah that's a reason too.
How to keep it popular:
- E.g. why didn't it stay popular after '94 - I think the problem with the short period in the limelight/youth is also that the "story line" doesn't go on for that long. Obviously MK was able to build up a large following and she was in the sport for a while.
I do also feel like there's a culture in skating of being non-controversial. E.g. Evan seems to me to actively try to be non-controversial, or Rachel Flatt, etc. They're well-put-together and composed and that's seemingly the sport's ideal, but it's maybe less interesting for viewers.
OK that's it for me. :-)
maybe we would do well with separate technical contests. but it's not so hard to see that on the contrary, figure skating's artistic element is 90 percent of why the people who do watch it even watch it to begin with people act as if figure skating is some stepchild in sports that doesn't get any attention, well for a long while it sure did and at times was one of the most popular spectator sports ever, yet some people act as if one of figure skating's strongest aspects (it's artistic/showman aspect) is its weak link or sth based on the wants and needs of some "manly-men" demographic.
this is the main problem here is that figure skating needs to regain back (in the US at least) the fans that it lost rather than trying to run into a totally different direction just to try to please some potential fans. all that's going to do is alienate the core base. which btw, having some dry technical contests added alone isn't going to do it. it's just so funny the pandering that some people try to to do in order to "buff up" the image of figure skating. it's the society that needs to be changed, not frigging figure skating itself.
and by the by, I can enjoy watching soccer and baseball where there's teams competing w/ but let's be honest, you think a dryass figure skating competition of technical elements would make for compelling tv!? please, definitely not for a general audience. there's a difference between watching sports like basketball vs watching sports like curling. an audience isn't going to sit around for 3 hours comparing the edges or height of a jump. a fall or step out isn't going to make it all suspenseful either. I'm not saying there wouldn't be an audience for it, but it's not even like diving (outside of the olympics) even gets any significant viewership, and nowhere near what figure skating did in its prime. we're talking about making figure skating more popular and mainstream here, not "masculinizing" it for probably an even smaller male demographic...
Last edited by iarispiralllyof; 07-04-2010 at 06:59 PM.
I think firefly123 has some very good points - and that they are more about making the SPORT popular than about garnering attention (seen as popularity) through some kind of reality/drama show approach. That type of celebrity/popularity is fleeting anyway, and I think it's about the last thing figure skating needs in the US - it will just lead to more snickers etc.
No doubt the artistry is important, but the athletic part - the jumps & spins etc. - are HARD. That is not understood by most other athletes until they are put head-to-head with a skater in a cross-training type activity. In a way, the problem is that the SPORT aspect is not perceived as "cool" because of the artistry even though the "stunts" or "tricks" are just as "cool" and hard as those in "cool" sports like skateboarding & snowboarding. If some of firefly123's suggestions lead to changing that perception, I think it's a good thing. I'm not saying skaters should start acting like a stereotypical skateboarder, just that what skaters are doing is just as athletically challenging (probably more) & a different approach might get them some respect for that - and some sponsors along the way!