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  1. #1
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    Figure Skating's Popularity Decline In The US

    In 1993, Figure Skating was the SECOND most popular spectator sport.

    In the 1993 National Sports Study II, considered by the Associated Press as the largest study of spectator sport popularity in America, ladies' figure skating was the second most popular spectator sport in America, just behind NFL football out of over 100 sports surveyed.[85] The 1993 study found that three figure skaters – Dorothy Hamill, Peggy Fleming, and Scott Hamilton[86] were among the eight most popular athletes in the United States, out of over 800 athletes surveyed.[87] Dorothy Hamill was statistically tied with Mary Lou Retton as the most popular athlete in America. The Tonya Harding scandal in 1994 increased interest in figure skating.[88] The first night of the ladies' figure skating competition in the 1994 Winter Olympics achieved higher TV Nielsen ratings than that year's Super Bowl and was the most watched sports television program of all-time, to that date.[89]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_skating


    In 2001, figure skating was the 4th most popular sport beating out college basketball.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/1786/more...her-sport.aspx


    Now, figure skating does not even make the top ten.
    http://www.therichest.org/sports/mos...ts-in-america/

    What happened and what can we do to change this?

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    This has been discussed in a number of different threads very recently.
    Who wants to watch rich people eat pizza? They must have loved that in Bangladesh. - Randy Newman on the 2014 Oscars broadcast

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    Yu-Na Kim was born in South Korea

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    Quote Originally Posted by Philly2034 View Post
    In 1993, Figure Skating was the SECOND most popular spectator sport.

    In the 1993 National Sports Study II, considered by the Associated Press as the largest study of spectator sport popularity in America, ladies' figure skating was the second most popular spectator sport in America, just behind NFL football out of over 100 sports surveyed.[85] The 1993 study found that three figure skaters – Dorothy Hamill, Peggy Fleming, and Scott Hamilton[86] were among the eight most popular athletes in the United States, out of over 800 athletes surveyed.[87] Dorothy Hamill was statistically tied with Mary Lou Retton as the most popular athlete in America. The Tonya Harding scandal in 1994 increased interest in figure skating.[88] The first night of the ladies' figure skating competition in the 1994 Winter Olympics achieved higher TV Nielsen ratings than that year's Super Bowl and was the most watched sports television program of all-time, to that date.[89]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_skating


    In 2001, figure skating was the 4th most popular sport beating out college basketball.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/1786/more...her-sport.aspx


    Now, figure skating does not even make the top ten.
    http://www.therichest.org/sports/mos...ts-in-america/

    What happened and what can we do to change this?

    What happened? I can list a few:

    2002 Olympic pairs scandal. More than ever, it made people feel as though skating was a pageant with fixed results, as opposed to a sport.

    The resulting international judging system (IJS), which is not understood by the general viewing audience. US TV commentators did little to nothing to educate the public about the judging system.

    The programs of many skaters began to look the same- lack of creativity with the IJS constraints

    Over saturation- from the mid 90s to the mid 2000s, skating was on just about every weekend all winter. The problem was it was largely the same skaters skating the same programs.

    US Figure Skating "Cheese Fests." These were largely made to capitalize on the popularity of Michelle Kwan, but didn't do much to lend to skating's image and validity as a "real" sport.

    Lack of a female star. After Michelle and Sasha retired, we haven't had a female step up to carry on where they left off. For the first time in over a half century, we have not had a female star. With the US having had no lady skater with a realistic chance at winning worlds since the rise of Yu-na Kim and the Japanese skaters in 2007, many people may just not care.

    To bring back the popularity of figure skating in the US, an American lady needs to at least medal at the Olympics next year to bring back the interest. Further, the Olympics will bring a guaranteed audience. The US needs to capitalize on that by finally educating the viewing public about the scoring system.

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    FYI, there are five or six other countries on the planet other than the U.S.A. Maybe even eight!
    It's official. I am madly in love with Meryl Davis.

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    And there are other disciplines of skating other than ladies. I will NEVER understand this obsession with a "female star"? What is so wrong with having a male star? Or a pair star?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeterG View Post
    FYI, there are five or six other countries on the planet other than the U.S.A. Maybe even eight!
    Obviously I know that, Peter! The person who wrote the thread was speaking about the popularity of figure skating in the US, and studies conducted in the US. That is why I responded regarding figure skating in the US. If you want to write about the popularity of figure skating in other countries, you are welcome to do so. I made it clear in my thread that I was talking about skating in the US, so please don't assume I don't know there are other skating countries in the world. Thank you.

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    I think you need to qualify which countries it is popular in. It might be true in the US but if you are looking at the Asian countries from what I understand it has never been more popular. The judges I know comment about the full houses, dedicated fans and how fantastic the atmosphere is when they go and judge in Japan or Korea.

    If you are looking at the US, I definately agree that there isn't a skater who just grabs the attention of fans any more. But also the Tonya and Nancy thing did more to raise the profile and interest in the sport than anything else.

    Plus skaters knew how to do gala programs back in the 90s and early 00s. Christopher Bowman, Scott Hamilton and Kurt Browning come to mind - they were so entertaining and knew how to have fun. Candeloro was engaging (before he decided to strip his clothes off, then it just became gross. Plushenko doing Sex Bomb captured people's attentions. I had so many non-skating fans send that clip around to me.

    These days skaters are so boring, all that ballardy stuff.
    Last edited by Aussie Willy; 02-01-2013 at 03:25 AM.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by misskarne View Post
    And there are other disciplines of skating other than ladies. I will NEVER understand this obsession with a "female star"? What is so wrong with having a male star? Or a pair star?
    I think that's a great question. Look at dance in the US. Why the US public doesn't seem to embrace the likes of Tanith and Ben and Meryl and Charlie is beyond me. Heck, Evan won the last Olympics, and not even that was enough to recapture a US audience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carriecmu0503 View Post
    Obviously I know that, Peter! The person who wrote the thread was speaking about the popularity of figure skating in the US, and studies conducted in the US. That is why I responded regarding figure skating in the US. If you want to write about the popularity of figure skating in other countries, you are welcome to do so. I made it clear in my thread that I was talking about skating in the US, so please don't assume I don't know there are other skating countries in the world. Thank you.
    Well actually the thread title was pretty general. And the original post kind of made the assumption that everyone reading it would latch onto the fact that is about the US.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    Well actually the thread title was pretty general. And the original post kind of made the assumption that everyone reading it would latch onto the fact that is about the US.
    It's pretty obvious the original post was about the US. The post discussed American athletes and who was most popular in America. And, I think many people know the Super Bowl (which skating was being compared to) is an American event. Let's not be so picky here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carriecmu0503 View Post
    It's pretty obvious the original post was about the US. The post discussed American athletes and who was most popular in America. And, I think many people know the Super Bowl (which skating was being compared to) is an American event. Let's not be so picky here.
    No it wasn't. Maybe have a look at my first response to this thread title.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    No it wasn't. Maybe have a look at my first response to this thread title.

    Here is the original post:

    In the 1993 National Sports Study II, considered by the Associated Press as the largest study of spectator sport popularity in America, ladies' figure skating was the second most popular spectator sport in America, just behind NFL football out of over 100 sports surveyed.[85] The 1993 study found that three figure skaters – Dorothy Hamill, Peggy Fleming, and Scott Hamilton[86] were among the eight most popular athletes in the United States, out of over 800 athletes surveyed.[87] Dorothy Hamill was statistically tied with Mary Lou Retton as the most popular athlete in America. The Tonya Harding scandal in 1994 increased interest in figure skating.[88] The first night of the ladies' figure skating competition in the 1994 Winter Olympics achieved higher TV Nielsen ratings than that year's Super Bowl and was the most watched sports television program of all-time, to that date.[89]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_skating


    What more do you need in this post to make it obvious it was about the US?

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    So, are we to respond to the VERY generic topic title, or the first post which is so obviously only about the US scene????
    In the generic sense, the popularity of figure skating in Japan is at an all times high. Sad about the US, but all it needs is a like six or seven skaters who can compete competently on the international level, and the fans keep on rolling in, like it's happening there.

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    In Sweden figureskating is more popular than ever before. So no decline here.

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    Fans don't understand and argue ad infinitum about the results. What can you expect of some casual observer? It doesn't look like a sport with the show girl costumes, etc. To a casual observer the competitions are the same----same music, same costumes, same programs: I've already seen that , let's watch something else. Competing with too many other sports. Too few competitions being shown on tv to hook new fans.

    To those who say it is still popular in their own country, that probably is true, but the most successful sports have worldwide appeal.

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    In the Sports section of the New York Times there is a little box each day listing sports on TV for that day, which channel and when. Helpful when you're looking for a particular event.

    They no longer list most figure skating competitions, not even our own Nationals, among the sports broadcasts. Yes, they do have the occasional article in the Sports section but the fact that figure skating isn't even listed in sports broadcasts of the day sort of tells me exactly how fs is perceived as sport...not really. It's sad and I think quite wrong but it is what it is.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by servin View Post
    In Sweden figureskating is more popular than ever before. So no decline here.
    Same for Italy. The national tv broadcasts the whole Grand Prix series, European, Four Continents and World Championships.
    By the way, in my opinion you should have specified in the thread title that you were talking about the USA; I agree with Aussie Willy.
    A grumpy Canadian will always be nicer than a polite Milanese

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    Quote Originally Posted by Iceman View Post
    To those who say it is still popular in their own country, that probably is true, but the most successful sports have worldwide appeal.
    Skating does have worldwide appeal - Japan, China, Korea, Russia, Canada, good coverage in many European countries, maybe not the detailed coverage that you would hope for in the US but it stil gets regular highlight packages on national television. Just because a sport isn't at the top in the US doesn't mean that it's reputation is damaged worldwide - just ask any football fan!

    It's true that there are problems & a decline in the US but you can't extrapolate from that that the whole sport is suffering.

  20. #20
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    This topic was also addressed in this thread about NBC's <insert your adjective of choice here> coverage in the U.S.: http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/show...ating-coverage
    "Randy [Starkman (1960-April 16, 2012)] lived by the same motto as the rest of us. The Olympics isn’t every four years, it’s every single day. He just got it." --Canadian Olympic kayaker Adam van Koeverden

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