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  1. #161

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    Commentary is the most overrated part of a skating broadcast. If one network aired 10 skating programs but the commentary was done by the "legitimate rape" guy, and the other network aired 9 skating programs but the commentary was done by someone everyone likes (and who is that, btw?), I will take the network showing 10 programs. Quantity over quality--every single time.

  2. #162
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    For non-rabid fans though commentary is important. I found that at my party where I was the only one watching Nationals, but everyone else watched because it is a normal think to point your head towards a TV people really wanted to know what the jumps were. They had no idea the difference between an axel and a salchow, but it was important to them to hear which one they did. (They kept asking me.) I also got asked if there was a difference between the spins skaters did? So non-skating fans really are that obtuse that they can't SEE a sit spin and a camel are different and want to be told that... maybe because they are football fans, and even though they fully understand those rules (and argue about referee rulings as much as we argue about GOE and PCS) they are used to being told what is happening- so much so that many go to live games with radios in their pocket to hear commentators.

    Personally, as a CW skater I have a hard time telling flips and lutzes apart when done CCW, just because I have to reverse my skating, so I like commentators when they actually call things (and even more when they call URs or edge calls) but I hate when they tell me "she has such a lovely quality on the ice".

  3. #163

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    Quote Originally Posted by manhn View Post
    BOLD will still show Worlds in completion.
    Has this been confirmed, given that BOLD has been sold?

  4. #164

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    Quote Originally Posted by morqet View Post
    You've hit the nail on the head. I only really started paying attention to skating during the 2006 Olympics, but had no problem picking up how the scoring system worked, because the BBC commentators explained things in a simple, straightforward manner. When I listen to US commentators however... no wonder the popularity of the sport is declining there, there's nothing that can help the casual viewer, and equally nothing to interest the more committed fan because there's no technical analysis.
    This. I avoid US coverage as much as I can, but I do tune in for US Nationals and to me its obvious why so many US fans hate COP and have stopped watching skating. For whatever reason, the commentators don't provide any technical information - its no wonder casual viewers are often frustrated by the results.
    CBC gives us much better technical analysis in Canada. Tracy and Kurt talk about levels, they tell us what is difficult and what isn't, we hear about ice coverage, where the jumps are placed, speed, entrances into jumps, landings, cheated jumps, etc, etc. Kurt will often explain the technical reason why a jump didn't work or why a skater might be having a problem with it. It's interesting, and it helps the audience to understand why programs are scored the way they are.

  5. #165
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    Does anyone think the return of fluff pieces would help US viewership? Please don't me.

    As skating fans, we always want to the network to try to squeeze in that extra program. But perhaps for the casual fan, getting to know the skaters as people would draw them in. Whatever fluff pieces we do get today are of the "walking on the beach, contemplating my future, giving generic statements about how I am competing with myself and I just want to do my best" variety. There is very little actual personality shown. I remember the days when they used to go to Joubert's freaking house in France and interview his mom and we'd get to see his baby pics and find out his embarrassing nickname. There was Pasha the actress wannabe, Oksana the alcoholic orphan, karate loving Elvis, bad girls Tonya and Nicole vs the glamorous Nancy and Michelle, etc. If a pair or ice dance team was a couple that was generally highlighted.

    This does nothing to enhance skating's credibility as a sport, but it probably helped people relate to the skaters and actually invest in their performances. When I talk to people who don't really watch skating except for the Olympics, this is the kind of stuff they remember. I feel like it's more disconnected now. Like in Vancouver, I can't really explain it, but it felt like NBC kept telling us: look, "Yu-Na is really really popular in her country. See these magazine covers? A lot of people like her!" But I, as a viewer, didn't really get to know her at all.

    I don't think CoP has hurt that much, but I do not think it helped either. If there was any speculation that fans would come back to the sport upon their perception that the judging was now "fair," it clearly hasn't happened (either the fans don't perceive it as being any more fair, or they don't care that much). In fact, the 6.0 system was better for the entertainment aspect of skating. OMG, how could that Russian judge put Sarah in 10th place! Ohh, the French judge, the Ukranian judge, they're all so evil! And who could forget that stupid map showing how the eastern bloc judges voted for Oksana? A large segment of the public eats that crap up. It's the same reason they watch reality shows despite "hating" the judges.

    But the question is, as skating fans should we support focusing on the entertainment side of skating if it will increase the ratings, and perhaps result in more coverage, even if it damages the sport's credibility? Or honestly is it better to just watch a feed from some foreign country that shows all the skaters and is drama free (if only because you can't understand the language) so you can concentrate on the sport aspects?

  6. #166

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    The biggest skating human interest story at the 2010 Games was the death of Joannie's mother. Not sure if that compelled people to watch. I think it did, at least it did in Canada. There were enough stories of patrons in bars and restaurants stopping what they were doing to watch Joannie skate, and I don't think they would've done that just because she's Canadian.

  7. #167
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    Figure Skating's Popularity Decline

    I recall reading an article by a British writer, who said he would not typically watch figure skating. He joked..."who would want to watch it?". However, he did mention he tuned-in specifically to watch Joannie, and was praying..."please don't let her fall". Joannie's human interest story definately affected people, even outside of Canada.
    Last edited by rvi5; 02-07-2013 at 02:04 AM.

  8. #168

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cherub721 View Post
    Does anyone think the return of fluff pieces would help US viewership? Please don't me.

    As skating fans, we always want to the network to try to squeeze in that extra program. But perhaps for the casual fan, getting to know the skaters as people would draw them in. Whatever fluff pieces we do get today are of the "walking on the beach, contemplating my future, giving generic statements about how I am competing with myself and I just want to do my best" variety. There is very little actual personality shown. I remember the days when they used to go to Joubert's freaking house in France and interview his mom and we'd get to see his baby pics and find out his embarrassing nickname. There was Pasha the actress wannabe, Oksana the alcoholic orphan, karate loving Elvis, bad girls Tonya and Nicole vs the glamorous Nancy and Michelle, etc. If a pair or ice dance team was a couple that was generally highlighted.

    This does nothing to enhance skating's credibility as a sport, but it probably helped people relate to the skaters and actually invest in their performances. When I talk to people who don't really watch skating except for the Olympics, this is the kind of stuff they remember. I feel like it's more disconnected now. Like in Vancouver, I can't really explain it, but it felt like NBC kept telling us: look, "Yu-Na is really really popular in her country. See these magazine covers? A lot of people like her!" But I, as a viewer, didn't really get to know her at all.

    I don't think CoP has hurt that much, but I do not think it helped either. If there was any speculation that fans would come back to the sport upon their perception that the judging was now "fair," it clearly hasn't happened (either the fans don't perceive it as being any more fair, or they don't care that much). In fact, the 6.0 system was better for the entertainment aspect of skating. OMG, how could that Russian judge put Sarah in 10th place! Ohh, the French judge, the Ukranian judge, they're all so evil! And who could forget that stupid map showing how the eastern bloc judges voted for Oksana? A large segment of the public eats that crap up. It's the same reason they watch reality shows despite "hating" the judges.

    But the question is, as skating fans should we support focusing on the entertainment side of skating if it will increase the ratings, and perhaps result in more coverage, even if it damages the sport's credibility? Or honestly is it better to just watch a feed from some foreign country that shows all the skaters and is drama free (if only because you can't understand the language) so you can concentrate on the sport aspects?
    i like the fluff pieces! bring them back

  9. #169

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    Even though the popularity of skating has taken a dive, has the number of competitors gone down significantly? Do the USFS-sponsored grassroots skating programs really bring in that many more kids who wouldn't have learned to skate otherwise, maybe in the beginning skating programs in the rinks? If lack of popularity hurts adult skaters or recreational skaters, the average TV viewer doesn't care.
    Without having done a careful study, I think that the numbers of competitors at U.S. regionals (juvenile through senior levels) peaked around 2004 or so; i.e., skaters who had started skating during the boom ears of the mid-late 1990s. Some large regions needed qualifying rounds for intermediate men around that time, and two levels of cuts for the juvenile and intermediate ladies.

    The numbers are down a bit since then. Several possible reasons would include a natural decline in new skaters taking up the sport as the television coverage declined; the state of the economy making it harder for parents to afford ice time and lessons for their kids; skaters of average and below-average ability (because of limited training time just as much as limited natural talent) choosing not to compete in qualifying competitions because IJS is too demanding or because they dislike IJS-style programs and choose to compete in other types of events instead. There has been a growth in participation in events such as synchronized skating, Theatre on Ice, Showcase, Solo Dance, competitive test track which caters more to recreational competitors who spend less time training. Some of these disciplines didn't really even exist 10 years ago, much less 20 or 30.

    Without having checked the actual numbers, I would not be surprised if the overall membership of USFS is comparable to or higher than it was 10 years ago even though the numbers at regionals are somewhat lower. There are more different ways to participate now.

    Certainly membership in my own club is at an all-time high -- synchro skating seems to fuel a big part of that. This will vary by location, especially the state of the economy and availability of rinks in various parts of the country.

    Also I think there are more clubs and more club competitions, although that may fluctuate.

    Numbers of adult skaters might also be slightly lower, but plateaued at a higher level than 20+ years ago before adult skating really took off.

    So in general I don't think participation is really hurting, but I don't think USFS can afford to get complacent about serving the needs of different groups of members, not just elite-track competitors.

  10. #170
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    I didn't see any promo ads on tv about US Nationals this year? Did anyone else?

  11. #171
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    So in general I don't think participation is really hurting, but I don't think USFS can afford to get complacent about serving the needs of different groups of members, not just elite-track competitors.
    Where do they get their money to serve these needs? Are they taking whatever TV money there is and using that? Is most of the their money from membership fees? Do they get any revenues from Skate America and US Nationals?

    I'm trying to figure out the impact of a decline in the popularity of championship figure skating.
    "'Is this new BMW-designed sled the ultimate sledding machine for Langdon and Holcomb?' Leigh Diffey asked before the pair cruised to victory. I don’t know, but I know that sled is the ultimate Olympic Games product placement.." -- Jen Chaney

  12. #172

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    Quote Originally Posted by manhn View Post
    Commentary is the most overrated part of a skating broadcast. If one network aired 10 skating programs but the commentary was done by the "legitimate rape" guy, and the other network aired 9 skating programs but the commentary was done by someone everyone likes (and who is that, btw?), I will take the network showing 10 programs. Quantity over quality--every single time.
    Oh come on. America would never have found the 1988, 1992, or 1994 Olympics interesting or exciting had they had some Chinese announcer. It was all about the storytelling. In 1994 Connie Chung and David Letterman were even in on it. It was never just the showing that made skating a ratings success, though the producers and camera technicians deserve full credit for the sport's fan base for their brilliant work.

  13. #173

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    Quote Originally Posted by rvi5 View Post
    I recall reading an article by a British writer, who said he would not typically watch figure skating. He joked..."who would want to watch it?". However, he did mention he tuned-in specifically to watch Joannie, and was praying..."please don't let her fall". Joannie's human interest story definately affected people, even outside of Canada.
    Now I am convinced that tragedy or drama is required to make figure skating popular.
    Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them. – Publilius Syrus

  14. #174
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    Ah, where is Tonya Harding when you need her

  15. #175

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    Where do they get their money to serve these needs? Are they taking whatever TV money there is and using that? Is most of the their money from membership fees? Do they get any revenues from Skate America and US Nationals?

    I'm trying to figure out the impact of a decline in the popularity of championship figure skating.
    I'm far from an expert on the financial aspects. Would have to do some research to answer any questions definitively. Maybe someone else here knows more than I do.

    Most of the stuff that happens at the grassroots level such as club competitions are funded by the clubs and the participants, and Headquarters or the top volunteer leadership don't get involved at all. E.g., once the decision to was made to add the Competitive Test Track option and the rules for it were developed by the appropriate volunteer committee and incorporated into the rulebook, it doesn't cost the association anything. Clubs can offer it at their nonqualifying events, and skaters pay their entry fees to compete in those levels instead of in IJS levels if that's what they prefer. Probably the largest numbers of participants in that track are at lower (non-IJS) levels anyway. So the main financial impact would be attracting new members at an earlier point in their skating development and retaining some skaters at middle/upper levels who might have quit if they felt they couldn't keep up with the qualifying level requirements.

    Solo dance and National Showcase now have national championships, so that one event each per year would get some funding from the USFS, but the qualifiers to get there all happen at club competitions.

    Synchronized skating has been around longer and has a more developed competition structure, with sectional and national competitions and some top teams being sent to international events, which the federation funds.

    Competitors (teams in the case of synchro) do pay entry fees for qualifying competitions, but I don't know if that alone is enough to cover the costs of running those competitions.

  16. #176
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwanfan1818 View Post
    Where do they get their money to serve these needs? Are they taking whatever TV money there is and using that? Is most of the their money from membership fees? Do they get any revenues from Skate America and US Nationals?

    I'm trying to figure out the impact of a decline in the popularity of championship figure skating.
    Impacts in two ways. First, as i understand it, US TV revenue from the Skate America and US nationals would go to USFSA. I heard through the grapevine that the organizers of the GP get a contribution from the ISU if there is TV revenue for the ISU in that market. So there is a financial impact. Secondly, if you look at membership statistics in Canada which are reported by Skate Canada in their annual report, they tend to go up after success by a Canadian skater. So visibility and profile of the elite skaters helps drive kids to the rink to learn to skate. This makes sense to me. For sure there are many other factors such as affordability etc. I think to take the view that there is no connection is not realistic.

  17. #177
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    Quote Originally Posted by manhn View Post
    Commentary is the most overrated part of a skating broadcast. If one network aired 10 skating programs but the commentary was done by the "legitimate rape" guy, and the other network aired 9 skating programs but the commentary was done by someone everyone likes (and who is that, btw?), I will take the network showing 10 programs. Quantity over quality--every single time.
    I would chose otherwise, every single time. A good commentator is like a good teacher, or a good parent, or a good pal, the person that can make what's good even better, more interesting, more fun. Someone that sometimes complements you, sometimes meets you. You need that if you're a newbe, it adds to the event even if you're experienced.

    -- Are you asking me who is the commentator everyone likes? I mentioned no commentator everyone likes, but I did say a good commentator imo adds to the coverage, and I did mention a former skater, current coach, who needs no help to understand, that would take pleasure in a specific commenting.

  18. #178

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    How do people survive attending an event with no commentary?

    Practically every commentator these days is a former skater and no one is universally beloved. And a current coach? Yeah, Igor commentating during D&W or V&M's competition would turn out great.

  19. #179
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    Quote Originally Posted by manhn View Post
    How do people survive attending an event with no commentary?
    Many buy the skate bug radios so they can listen to commentary.

    It also seems like most of the serious fans at baseball and football games wear radios in their ears to listen to commentary too!

  20. #180

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    Quote Originally Posted by manhn View Post
    How do people survive attending an event with no commentary?
    Practically every commentator these days is a former skater and no one is universally beloved. And a current coach? Yeah, Igor commentating during D&W or V&M's competition would turn out great.
    LOL, I record it and watch it on TV again when I go home because the commentators often provide information that isn't available even to the most diehard fan.
    As for current coaches, Tracy Wilson coaches with Brian Orser - I've never heard anyone complain about her commentating on events that her skaters or former skaters are in. Personally I think it's an advantage when the commentators are skaters, coaches &/or choreographers who are still actively involved in the sport.

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