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  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by morqet View Post
    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.
    Very true

    There have been many of these discussions in the past, and to me the constant theme is US skating fans project their own issues with the sport onto the general US public, and think that explains decline in skating popularity. Casual fans don't care about judging protocols--they really don't. When a casual viewer tunes in to watch Olympic diving, they aren't fretting over the judging system--they're just enjoying being entertained. Ditto with gymnastics, aerial jumping, etc. If the announcers bring up judging controversies, that's the first most viewers will have heard about it, and they'll only be interested in it as far as it relates to the human drama angle.

    Similarly, casual viewers aren't refusing to watch skating because it's not a "real sport." People are assuming if only skating was shown more in the US, then people would watch it. What they aren't contemplating is skating *has* been shown in the US, and ratings steadily declined. The reason it's not shown so much anymore is because people aren't watching. Why? Because people simply are more interested in other things.

    It reminds me of the political climate a few months ago where conservatives couldn't envision that anyone would actually want to willingly vote for Obama. So it had to be the case that polls were wrong, votes were bought, the media was brainwashing people, etc. But the reality was quite a bit simpler--more people liked Obama better. Similarly, there isn't some grand marketing problem with figure skating that could be remedied with competent people in charge at the ISU. And there isn't some harboring resentment of IJS or anything else. It's simply that people find other sports and television programming more interesting. The whole point of reality tv is to show live human drama, and viewers tend to eat that up. With Harding/Kerrigan, you had live human drama, so people ate that up.

    Now, there isn't that external live human drama piece, so viewers are tuning in because they just want to watch skating. And there's never been all that many of such folk relative to the general population. There are so many options for people WRT sports, skating has to compete with crew, dressage, moguls, archery, rhythmic gymnastics, women's basketball, etc. Skating is a niche sport with a niche fanbase in the US, and always has been. People generally enjoy it when they see it at the Olympics, but they aren't going to go out of their way to view it anymore than they'll plan their schedule around the next speed skating comp.
    Last edited by agalisgv; 02-01-2013 at 02:37 PM.

  2. #22
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    I agree with agalisgv, in the US people just aren't particularly into watching figure skating. It has a niche audience. Someone can check on the stats for this but I believe that the Winter Olys has declined in viewership a great deal over the years, especially since cable gave people more tv choices. So most people don't even see the Winter Oly figure skating which in the days of Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamill were what got people interested in skating stars.

    Okay but let's pretend that's not true and think about how figure skating could be popular. Figure skating is lacking the identity and loyalty issue of team sports where people identify with their city or university team. It also lacks the long-term identification that a team provides as skaters skate competitively for only a few years.

    Okay so I'm thinking what about other sports that lack these advantages that team sports have? How about NASCAR? Maybe figure skating should seek to be more like NASCAR. It seems to me a lot of what generates long-term interest in NASCAR is cultural identification. People feel like they are a part of a cultural grouping and identify with one another as NASCAR fans. So how does this translate for figure skating? We need people to want to in a sense wave their banner as figure skating fans for the world to see because it connotes something about them as part of a cultural group.

    So how do we go about making this happen?

    without cracking ourselves up too much
    Congratulations 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte!!!

  3. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by morqet View Post
    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!
    I completely agree with worldwide skating popularity being ok, but the difference when compared to football is there is no demand and hardly any rinks in South America and Africa. For skating, having a country like the US that used to pay quite a bit of money for its broadcasting rights become a smaller player will hurt the sport more (since the world-wide market for it was smaller to begin with). Football was never a big market sport in the US and it's actually getting more popular now -nowhere near the coverage the rest of the world gets, but still. Skating got quite a bit of revenue from US TV contracts after 1994. I seem to remember prize money for the ISU Grand Prix Final being closer to $60-80,000 for winners about 10 years ago, not the $25,000 they got this time around. I do think this amount will eventually start to go up again, but that will take a while.

    Otherwise, I do agree skating is huge in Asia now and since other posters mentioned countries like Sweden and Italy getting more coverage, that's a very good sign for the future.

  4. #24
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    What kind of tv ratings did Nationals get?

  5. #25
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    Ratings for Saturday night (Ladies): http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/201...s-down/166926/

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by pingu View Post
    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.
    I'm American and I also think the thread title should have included "in the U.S." This forum is international and so it's not uncommon to see complaints almost every time a thread title does not specify the U.S. and assumes people should.
    "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

  7. #27

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    NBC's ratings for the Vancouver Olympics were the highest for a non-US Olympics since Lillehammer.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    Okay so I'm thinking what about other sports that lack these advantages that team sports have? How about NASCAR? Maybe figure skating should seek to be more like NASCAR. It seems to me a lot of what generates long-term interest in NASCAR is cultural identification. People feel like they are a part of a cultural grouping and identify with one another as NASCAR fans.
    Figure skating and NASCAR already have much in common: falling attendance, events in suck-hole locales, ancient fans whining about event shuttles, closeted competitors, trashy concession food and hideous competitive uniforms.

  9. #29

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    To someone in their twenties or to someone who just got interested in figure skating in the 90's skating in the US may seem to be on the decline. But to someone like me who has been involved since the 1960's there is way more interest in figure skating now than there was in previous decades (with the exception of the few years after Tonya whacked Nancy when figure skating was the fad of the moment). This is due the availability of information on the internet, and also due to the huge increase in the number of year-round skating rinks in the US thanks to the expansion of hockey.

    I don't think figure skating will ever be a mainstream sport in the US because it is not as accessible as football, soccer, or basketball either physically or financially. The increased emphasis on tricks has turned it into a child sport for either children or physically child-like adults. A lot of adults just don't identify with the skaters they see on tv and adults are the ones spending the money and the ones that sponsors go after.

    As far as other countries are concerned maybe some of the FSUers who live there can comment.

  10. #30

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    I think we need a hit TV show about a crime-fighting adult figure skater, probably a returning child skater, who's good enough to be interesting to watch on the ice but not too good, so average audiences could see the adult skaters and kid skaters in the rink scenes and think that this is a sport they could try for themselves if there's a rink nearby.

    Then there could be occasional guest appearances by elite skaters.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by manhn View Post
    NBC's ratings for the Vancouver Olympics were the highest for a non-US Olympics since Lillehammer.
    But that may have more to do with Vancouver being in a reasonably close time zone to major US cities, so events were on at a more convenient time for US viewers.
    Who wants to watch rich people eat pizza? They must have loved that in Bangladesh. - Randy Newman on the 2014 Oscars broadcast

  12. #32

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    No doubt. Geography probably plays a role all over the world. Who knows what Sochi's ratings will be like. But a ratings increase from Torino (and a significant one at that) doesn't demonstrate Americans' continued disinterest in the winter games.

    Now, it can be argued that skating has a smaller role in how Americans watch and appreciate the Winter Games. The Gold Medal Hockey game delivered monstrous ratings in both Canada (duh) and the US (best since the Miracle on Ice). The US had stars like Shaun White and Lindsay Vonn. And Wall Street apparently loved curling. The US won the most medals in those games, so there was more incentive to watch the Games than just because a ladies figure skater could win gold. There are just more sports to watch and like. Skating now has more competition.

  13. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    so average audiences could see the adult skaters and kid skaters in the rink scenes and think that this is a sport they could try for themselves if there's a rink nearby.
    Except rinks will never be as close by as a driveway basketball hoop, and skating is expensive (prohibitively so for most families). And that goes back to:
    Quote Originally Posted by aliceanne View Post
    I don't think figure skating will ever be a mainstream sport in the US because it is not as accessible as football, soccer, or basketball either physically or financially.
    People can throw a baseball or football in their front yard or in the street. The can play basketball in their driveway or on the neighborhood court. In both cases, you really only need a ball (and maybe a glove). There's simply no parallel to that for skating.

    Ergo, skating becomes a niche sport with niche fans. It's not about having more exposure--it's about physical and financial accessibility. If you can only participate when/if you have a car that can get you there, it's not going to have widespread participation.
    Quote Originally Posted by manhn View Post
    There are just more sports to watch and like. Skating now has more competition.
    This

    Olympic skating lost out to American Idol in the ratings department IIRC

  14. #34
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    I think when we are comparing the popularity of watching figure skating in the U.S. with other sports we should particularly focus on the other sports that are performed to music, where each competitor wears his/her own unique costume, where sparkles are common, and where the performances often tell a story.
    Congratulations 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte!!!

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueRidge View Post
    I think when we are comparing the popularity of watching figure skating in the U.S. with other sports we should particularly focus on the other sports that are performed to music, where each competitor wears his/her own unique costume, where sparkles are common, and where the performances often tell a story.
    Dancing with the Stars?

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherub721 View Post
    Dancing with the Stars?
    let's not emulate that... even if it has a bigger audience...
    Congratulations 2014 World Ice Dance Champions Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte!!!

  17. #37
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    One thing that struck me about the US Team in London for the Olympcis was that the female athletes garnered a lot of attention and accolades for their performance in London. Whether if be soccer or gymnastics or track or swimming or whatever the girls/women brought it. I think there are a lot of US females in the winter sports that do well too. That wasn't always the case. I was thinking about Calgary in '88. Was Brian Boitano the only gold medal winner (man or woman) for the US? Fast forward 24/25 years and our females have more choices, more training...just MORE. I think it may be hard for skating to compete with all of those choices. And tv is a problem. Would it be too much for ESPN or Fox Sports or even Lifetime to have a half hour or hour program each week (fall/winter) that updates fans and people who curious about the sport on events, personalities, fluff pieces and the "how to's" of the sport. I also miss ABC's "Wide World of Sports" which followed the outlier sports. I'm rambling---I am worried about the sport in the US. I'm happy to see it strong elsewhere.

  18. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    Then there could be occasional guest appearances by elite skaters.
    Even better, have the ass-kicking crime-fighters from old cop shows make guest appearances. Have Walker, Texas Ranger come to town and, while wearing ice skates rather than the usual boots, butterfly-kick the bad guys in the face. Unlike in the old Walker series in which the show invariably concluded with everyone fighting in a burning warehouse, they could have their smackdowns on ice. Oh wait, we have the NHL doing those.

  19. #39

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    Now you understand why the U.S. skating community is so hell-bent on Gracie Gold winning this year's Worlds, to set the stage for (hopefully) a big pay-off at Sochi. If Gracie wins the traditional Gold (not the Team Gold) in Sochi, then post-Olympics ratings for skating in the USA will go through the roof. Ashley also could do it...but Goldie has the long legs to get more product endorsements and sell more magazines.

    It must be a lady - not a pair or a couple. Skating is, for traditional casual viewers, all about 'Miss America/Miss Universe on Ice' - Queen of the Ice. (Yeah, I realize that Johnny Weir thinks of himself as Queen of the Ice but that's not what Farmer Joe in Kansas wants to see.)
    Dick Button Historical Quote of the Month: "Good for you, Lucinda Ruh!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Frau Muller View Post

    It must be a lady - not a pair or a couple. Skating is, for traditional casual viewers, all about 'Miss America/Miss Universe on Ice' - Queen of the Ice.
    Ever heard of Gordeeva & Grinkov?

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