It's official. I am madly in love with Meryl Davis.
I do think these tickets need to be cheaper. I get it, airfare sucks, but do I want to spend hundreds upon hundreds to have a good seat that will NEVER be filled? Nope. Not anymore.
Well, I'll compare figure skating with DWTS. In terms of amount of coverage, DWTS is really only 3 hours per week with a lot of filler and fluff pieces. And the west coast *still* doesn't get to see it live. I don't see why we want figure skating covered like DWTS.
In terms of costs, unless Skate Canada is right next to my condo or is in a location that appeals to me or I become an uber of a Canadian skater (and you'll know when I uber), I will try to make Skate America an annual thing. Flying anywhere in the US from Seattle is almost always cheaper than flying from Vancouver to some other Canadian city. And SA tickets are darn cheap. SA is great value for a lot of skating fans.
Skating has lost some popularity in all the Western countries.
Ask Australians on here, and I believe they will tell you skating enthusiasm has dwindled there. It wasn't always like that. Even is a summer sport country like Australia, skating had a serious following. I don't know if this is true now, and it looks like only a few can afford to train for the top levels there anymore.
The skaters we've seen from Britain over the past fifteen years lead me to ask: Is popular support for skating in the Queen's islands almost dead? It was less than 20 years ago that the UK experienced power outages during the Olympic free dance final because so many Britons who were watching Torvil and Dean simultaneously went to their stoves to warm a pot of tea to calm their nerves down. The sport hopefully retains flickers of this excitement--and pride since the UK invented ice dance as a social activity and a sport-- but it seems dormant as of late.
I also think in Europe, skating is considered less newsworthy than in past decades. I think in France skating remains beloved, but I could be wrong.
I don't know what the trends are in Canada and Russia, but the sport seems at least more popular there than in the United States.
It's nice to see the Baltic countries, the Czech and Slovak Republics, along with Poland and perhaps Hungary continue to field athletes who are notable at Europeans and Worlds. I don't know how popular the sport generally is perceived to be in those central European and former communist nations.
Japan, Korea, and China seem to be the promising areas. It would be great for Chinese interest if they get in some singles skaters, like Lu Chen, who are competitive. The Asian countries seem to have a long, long way to go before they are good at dance.
Last edited by TheIronLady; 02-02-2013 at 09:31 AM.
[QUOTE=TheIronLady;3824046]Skating has lost some popularity in all the Western countries.
Although here in Italy soccer reigns supreme and ice skating is certainly not the sport of the masses, it nevertheless gets quite good coverage on TV. At least the big competitions like Europeans, GPF, 4CC, worlds. The Italians have decent skaters in 3 disciplines of 4 and I guess having the home team to root for counts quite a bit. There are also quite a few shows like the Opera on Ice, Golden Skate Awards, Christmas Gala etc all of which get televised sooner or later. And any show that features Plushenko is sold out. In 2012 he must have been in Italy for at least 10-12 different shows. So I would say that in Italy skating is quite popular.
I don't believe figure skating's popularity is declining even in the US. I believe it was declining but at some point it hit stasis and is now holding steady by most measures of popularity.
Actual bumper sticker series: Jesus is my co-pilot. Satan is my financial advisor. Budha is my therapist. L. Ron Hubbard owes me $50.
Your post lists a lot of contributing factors to the decline of skating viewership in the US, but this particular statement is only half right.
The cheese fests that so overpopulated the US TV airwaves arose post-94 and didn't have much to do with Michelle Kwan. That year, the CBS network lost their contract to broadcast National Football League games on Sunday afternoons, so hit on the notion of counter-programming with figure skating. So every week there was another made-for-TV competition for pro skaters, mostly featuring Kerrigan and Baiul, with fairly inexplicable judging and eventually even audience voting. Add to that the usual pro events and some other new ones capitalizing on the boom and there was total saturation. The best of the pro skaters were flying around the country competing somewhere almost every weekend. Even the skaters could not keep them straight and came to not much care who won (except for Landover/World Pros). Eventually even the USFS got into the act and added a couple cheesefest-style competitions a year. (These would have been the only ones with Kwan back then.) By about 97 or 98, the boom was starting to fade, but pro skating was still getting better TV ratings than ISU competitions here. It was Speedy's annoyance that World Pros outdrew Worlds that year that caused the ISU to go on a mission to kill pro skating.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.
I still think that the demise of the pro events, with no technical rules giving us more interesting, varied, creative and artistic programs has been a large factor in the decline of skating's popularity here overall. While the popularity star skaters achieved during their ISU competition years and the attention from the 94 Olympic season fed the popularity of the pro skating events, it was the popularity of these events that in turn drove interest in skating as a whole, helping viewership of the ISU events. The death of pro and show skating and skating TV specials in the US has, in turn, caused interest is skating as a whole to dwindle. (It's the "rising tide raises all boats" principle - the popularity of one fed the other, but without both healthy, the level was going to fall.
It did not help that the US produced no real Scott-Dorothy-Peggy-Kristi-BrianB level stars for this circuit (in spite of some OGMs) and that Kwan and some others chose to spend their whole careers in ISU competitions rather than adding their luster and new energy to pro events. Lots of factors worked together, but part of the decline is simply that skating's popularity here in the mid 90s was a bubble that was going to burst sooner or later.
The real problem is not just that it fell, but that it has fallen even below the pre-94 level of interest. (Actually I think it is probably even down to the pre-88 level.) That is where you have to look back at ISU for failing to fuel the system.
I guess folks from other countries are asking why we think this topic is important. The answer is money. While skating enjoys great popularity in Russia and reached new heights in some Asian countries and maybe elsewhere, none of that makes up for the revenues the ISU looses from the US TV contract.
For folks who have been watching skating for 25 years or more, I think it is probably also fair to say the entertainment value of ISU skating events has declined a lot in the last decade. The non-intuitive scoring produces results that look even more wrong than back when they were determined by protocols and judging deals. Changes in choreography and poor music choices driven by COP requirements and what it rewards and penalizes has caused skating to loose a lot of it's grace and elegance and, frankly, its watchability for me.
It's official. I am madly in love with Meryl Davis.
It is good to hear that other countries are experiencing increasing popularity with the sport!
With North America (and I'll group the U.S. in there as key) I think the huge ratings after the Kerrigan fiasco led to gaining new fans but also lost a lot of fans when the scandals hit. I know that I lost interest for a number of years and have only slowly come back. As well I agree that people got sick of the contrived competition in the show skating .. pretty fixed right from the beginning!).
In the U.S. it's huge that there isn't a woman star. There always has been but not anymore. Why is that? Is it that the women have had trouble adapting to the new requirements in the programs? Are the technical requirements too demanding and difficult now that it makes it impossible for a star to emerge? They used to pump them out year after year.
And one thing that I think overall is more minor but in the "old" days you could tune to NBC or CBC and watch skating. Now sometimes it's on satellite and at odd hours. Likely it's a lot cheaper to broadcast this way but it might be at the expense of the viewers or the casual skating fan who doesn't think to do the work to find out what hour, week or month a competition is being broadcast.
As for the galas - yes I agree with whoever posted that there doesn't seem to be a lot of effort put ino the galas anymore. That's why I don't do SOI .. perhaps one reason for the skaters is the technical requirements leave not much time to practice exhibitions.
And yes the new judging system is hard to follow although I like it and prefer the technical requirements especially in dance now. I used to watch dance and think wtf? what is that? lol