TV coverage of the European Championships this year was almost none existent. Eurosport provided no coverage of the short programs/dance, and the 1 hour long advertised live coverage for each of the free programs/dance was mostly cut in half, with the winners/top finishers programs often being missed out completely. All in all, the coverage was to say the least, extremely poor.
Canadian fans have also encountered similar problems as this article points out, and as Phil Hersh highlighted in this article a few months ago, there have been problems with American coverage as well. In fact, the only part of the world that is defying the trend towards deteriorating coverage is of course Asia. But how long will that last?
The problem with deteriorating coverage is the missed opportunity to inspire a new generation of fans. The core audience ages, and the two trends combined produce an even smaller audience. This in turn makes it even less likely that TV companies will be interested in covering the sport. Consequently, the sport is locked into a vicious circle and a downward spiral. This is something that the ISU needs to address as a matter of urgency, and proactively tackle. One idea would be for the ISU to provide an online subscription service in those areas where events have no coverage. That way, at least there is coverage, and the ISU can make a bit of much needed money out of it at the same time.
So, is the lack of TV coverage worldwide holding the sport back? Would an online subscription service provided by the ISU for those areas that have no coverage plug the gap?