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  1. #1

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    Live Figure Skating Disappears

    Latest Phil Hersh article. Reads:-

    As another figure skating season begins in earnest Friday with the first of seven senior Grand Prix events, a sport that has been sliding slowly out of general U.S. consciousness will be losing traction among even its hardest-core fans.

    The pricing and programming dispute between Universal Sports and major distributors including Comcast, Time Warner and AT&T means some two-thirds of the 100 million U.S. cable / satellite / telco home subscribers no longer can get live coverage on their TV or computer of the Grand Prix, World Championships and most other figure skating events.

    That also affects subscribers to icenetwork.com, U.S. Figure Skating’s web site, which previously streamed Grand Prix events live.

    This week’s Skate America in Kent, Wash., is an exception. Through the end of the 2012-13 season, Universal owns U.S. rights to everything but Skate America and the U.S. Championships, both belonging to NBC. Universal has cut deals with Dish Network and Direct TV, which account for about the other one-third of home subscribers, but its programming is shown on those distributors’ premium sports tiers – further limiting the audience.....See it now. After that, skating is pretty much out of sight, out of mind for U.S. viewers the rest of 2012.
    The same problems re poor TV coverage exist in Europe as well. The ISU needs to start sorting these problems out, as its killing figure skating.

  2. #2

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    "The ISU needs to start sorting these problems out, as its killing figure skating."

    If the ISU gave a fig we wouldn't be quite where we are today. They don't care now and I don't expect that they're going to care in future. As a figure skating fan for well over 50 years I can tell you that the ups and downs have been amazing to watch. What has been most discouraging though is the ISU's increasing disregard for figure skating - very sad. There is no help coming from them.
    Last edited by Willowway; 10-19-2012 at 12:26 AM.

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    It's completely asinine that a sport that desperately needs viewers would allow this crap to happen. I'm trying to find the logic behind their decision, and I've got nothing. It's not like they're going to get more money... They're going to get less, since of the many particulars needed to access US's streaming coverage. All they had to do was allow people to pay for the streams on their website, but no. They couldn't even manage that much. Forget them, really. I'm paying tvteka, and US can go step on some legos.

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    Its so crazy! In Australia, I cant even watch the grand prix at all from my ice network account. And i have no idea why. Its not shown on any tv here, so why is it blocked?? There are probably on 4 people in australia who care to watch anyway, so whats the point of the GEO Block?

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyWarhol View Post
    Its so crazy! In Australia, I cant even watch the grand prix at all from my ice network account. And i have no idea why. Its not shown on any tv here, so why is it blocked?? There are probably on 4 people in australia who care to watch anyway, so whats the point of the GEO Block?
    Because, if the London Olympics have taught us anything, it is that TV networks, especailly big NA tv networks (but not only) like buying and then defending their exclusivities at all costs but totally don't care about viewers. You have the music industry to thank for starting that trend....

    Actually I find that the situation has improved in Europe: until last year, I had not access to any tv channel showing the GPs, whereas now my local Eurosport (Eurosport France) is showing all of them, even if the Skate America is a bit more limited in terms of live coverage. The European and World Championships coverage remains the same, with every country showing most, if not all competitions live (at least the free programs - most national tv channels don't show the SP, which are usually covered only by Eurosport)

    It's such a shame because as the OT stated, this is slowly but surely killing FS, especially in Northern America which was traditionally the most important market for the sport I believe. Now it looks like this has shifted more to Japan and Eastern Asia (thanks to Yu Na Kim and the Chinese pairs)
    Last edited by rayhaneh; 10-19-2012 at 10:40 AM.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by AndyWarhol View Post
    Its so crazy! In Australia, I cant even watch the grand prix at all from my ice network account. And i have no idea why. Its not shown on any tv here, so why is it blocked?? There are probably on 4 people in australia who care to watch anyway, so whats the point of the GEO Block?
    I never quite understood this. Would it really be so hard for icenetwork to not geoblock? I was even going to subscribe to IN this season until I found out about the geoblock (and then of course the total destruction of the coverage.)

    It's surely hard enough in NA and Europe to watch skating - where it's a sport given airtime. Here, I don't think skating even makes the list for pay TV (which I don't have anyway). So I'm stuck trying to find some junky jerky Russian stream that hopefully won't give my computer too many viruses. It's pretty hard to watch skating when you're not a main skating country.

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    Quote Originally Posted by misskarne View Post
    I never quite understood this. Would it really be so hard for icenetwork to not geoblock? I was even going to subscribe to IN this season until I found out about the geoblock (and then of course the total destruction of the coverage.)

    It's surely hard enough in NA and Europe to watch skating - where it's a sport given airtime. Here, I don't think skating even makes the list for pay TV (which I don't have anyway). So I'm stuck trying to find some junky jerky Russian stream that hopefully won't give my computer too many viruses. It's pretty hard to watch skating when you're not a main skating country.
    The problem is that licences (right of images) sold to tv stations are for given territories only: if they wanted to make their stream available worldwide, the price would probably be prohibitive. Besides, there would still always be areas that would be geoblocked because the rights have been sold with exclusivity to another tv station (granted, I would imagine that it wouldn't be a problem in Australia as apparently the rights weren't sold there). As a result, you only very rarely have legal ways of watching any tv channel outside the country/ area they cover (I think the Keyhole TV program to watch live Japanese tv is one of the only exceptions, but that's because the program is actually sponsored by the Japanese government)

    One legit alternative is the Eurosport TV player. You have to pay a small fee, which is very reasonable (I think around 5 euro/ month) for relatively good image quality, although it's clearly not HD. I am not sure if you can access it from Australia though: I would suggest you enter from eurosport.com, then choose any of the main European countries' eurosport website and try to create an account from there. I live in Switzerland yet I have access to Eurosport France, Germany, Italy and UK that way

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    Quote Originally Posted by rayhaneh View Post
    The problem is that licences (right of images) sold to tv stations are for given territories only: if they wanted to make their stream available worldwide, the price would probably be prohibitive. Besides, there would still always be areas that would be geoblocked because the rights have been sold with exclusivity to another tv station (granted, I would imagine that it wouldn't be a problem in Australia as apparently the rights weren't sold there). As a result, you only very rarely have legal ways of watching any tv channel outside the country/ area they cover (I think the Keyhole TV program to watch live Japanese tv is one of the only exceptions, but that's because the program is actually sponsored by the Japanese government)

    One legit alternative is the Eurosport TV player. You have to pay a small fee, which is very reasonable (I think around 5 euro/ month) for relatively good image quality, although it's clearly not HD. I am not sure if you can access it from Australia though: I would suggest you enter from eurosport.com, then choose any of the main European countries' eurosport website and try to create an account from there. I live in Switzerland yet I have access to Eurosport France, Germany, Italy and UK that way
    Thanks for the hint! I will try it!

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    ...and I've also taught myself to blackout results and spoilers and then 24 hours later find all the programs on youtube and watch it that way....kinda like how I watch the JGP except ISU posts the vids within minutes.

    Other than that, save my pennies and fly around to watch skating. *shrug*

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    I don't know what the situation is like this year in Canada, but last year was the best that it has ever been (every single event was shown on regular cable in pretty good timeslots, most were live). It seems to be getting better every single year here.

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    How many little girls and boys will NOT be inspired to try skating because they didn't see it on TV?
    BARK LESS. WAG MORE.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rock2 View Post
    ...and I've also taught myself to blackout results and spoilers and then 24 hours later find all the programs on youtube and watch it that way....kinda like how I watch the JGP except ISU posts the vids within minutes.
    Actually, that was great during the JGP series! I really loved that. Could they not do something similar for the senior GP? I know a lot more kids at my rink this year watched the JGP because they could get at it on Youtube. It was like live streaming without the stream. Plus if you were running restricted internet *coughlikemecough* at the time, you could pick and choose which programs to watch.

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    Is FS the red headed stepchild of the ISU?

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    Now I can't even do livestreaming on universal sports. It's terrible. Now all prerecorded NBC maybe if there isn't a bigger live sport taking priority.

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    More than ever the need to go the NFL route and create their own internet TV network. Show all the events - junior and senior - and let fans subscribe. The technology is there - they just need to use it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LilJen View Post
    How many little girls and boys will NOT be inspired to try skating because they didn't see it on TV?
    Kids nowadays from the Youtube and social Networks generation dont really need to see it on regular TV to get hooked onto something. They will probably be happier with a FS iphone application or something similar.

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    We are very spoiled in Canada. We have great coverage and it is free on basic cable.
    Here is the CBC TV sched: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/figureskating/broadcast/
    Click also on the 'CBC Bold' ' link on the webpage for even more TV scheduling, and 'CBC.ca' for web coverage. Don't know what the Skatebuzz schedules are yet. I wish that fans everywhere could get this.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskarne View Post
    Here, I don't think skating even makes the list for pay TV (which I don't have anyway).
    That's correct. Last year ESPN in Australia showed some of US Nationals the week following the event, but that's all I've ever noticed. Eurosport Asia-Pacific doesn't show any figure skating coverage at all, despite showing some other winter sports.

    Although, having now had access to the commentary-free ISU Web TV for Euros and Worlds, I'd actually rather pay for that. I know it doesn't give you the Grand Prix (apart from the Final), but what it does offer is a lot more than I used to see on British Eurosport anyway.
    The ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as gods, and the cats have never forgotten.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunny Hop View Post
    Although, having now had access to the commentary-free ISU Web TV for Euros and Worlds, I'd actually rather pay for that. I know it doesn't give you the Grand Prix (apart from the Final), but what it does offer is a lot more than I used to see on British Eurosport anyway.
    I nearly forked out for that last year while trying to find a working stream for Worlds. Is that the one on the ISU website? And it shows the GPF and JGPF, and Euros, Worlds?

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    Thank God I live in Michigan and can catch CBC's broadcasts. They are relentless homers, but at least I can see the skating!

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