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  1. #1

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    How can the ISU obtain greater TV coverage for figure skating?

    New article entitled 'Figure Skating, Television and Economics'. Reads:-

    [The] Figure skating season is coming to [an] end and once again we should [consider] one sad fact – [the] very low percentage of TV broadcasts on the major sports channels.

    Unfortunately, there are lots of doubts when it comes to [the] ISU['s] effectiveness. Half-empty stands, [the] strange results of competitions, and [the] very controversial judging system...That is why there is absolutely no sense [in the] main sports channels...increase[ing] the number of skating broadcasts. They are much more willing to cooperate with [those] sports that [are] worth invest[ing] in.

    According to the Topend Sports website, figure skating, unfortunately, [is] not included in the top ten, nor [even the] top twenty most popular sports.

    However, we should not be too pessimistic. The market economy is a very flexible mechanism, which is constantly looking for new opportunities for its growth. And usually it finds them. The main thing is to create the necessary conditions and [that] depends on the [ISU].
    So, what does the ISU need to do to make figure skating a more attractive proposition for TV broadcasters?

  2. #2

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    Bash someone's knees! Create super Queens like Kwan and Yuna.
    Way to go Gracie Gold and Ashley.
    Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them. – Publilius Syrus

  3. #3
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    For the *US* TV market? Either a major female star, or better yet a rivalry. I'm talking Michelle vs. Tara, not Ashely vs. Gracie--something with serious contrast. Though now we might do better with a genuine 'bad girl' vs. 'good girl' storyline and given what sells on TV it might be better if this time the 'bad girl' won....

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    The isu can't do anything if the winners have no appeal and can't headline their own stuff like boitano and friends and katarina Witt and friends. Unless the isu dropping the cop could mean more personality on the ice and not cop straightjacket

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    This writer, Vladislav Luchianov, doesn't even come to skating events. He is just an armchair journalist, so what does he really know?
    I know that the stands were not "half empty" at most events I attended this season (which were quite a lot, believe me). Strange results? Please. I'm not going even into that. (The discussion about results apparently is something that makes figure skating so fascinating to many people) Controversial judging system? Come on, it has been in place for ten years now and there was enough controversy around 6.0 .

    The attendance at Skate America is always quite poor, that is correct. Luchianov is probably just talking about the U.S. market, which is one of many. I agree with the poster above, what the USA need is a big skating star, a new Michelle Kwan. Someone who not only is winning big time but also has the glamour. Unfortunately the media in the USA seem to be fixated on that female skating star. There are Meryl Davis/Charlie White, two-time World Champions, gold medal contenders for the Olympic Games, but sorry, they are ice dancers. If at least they were a couple off the ice and would create some stories.... The U.S. media is not willing to sell them as stars or they don't think they can sell them.

  6. #6
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    nothing short of gracie winning the olympic gold and a second "whack heard around the world"

  7. #7
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    We are in year 2013 now. TV is slowly being phased out by on-demand services and the internet.

    Screw TV coverage. ISU needs to get their heads out of the sand, face reality and really start pushing the social media angle and open up access through the use of internet (which would be very simple to do - simply have a clause in the TV contracts allowing ISU to broadcast online the parts which do not get aired - Ice Network has been doing that for US Nats).

  8. #8

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    Good point, Ziggy. The ISU is working on the social media and internet coverage (WTT will be broadcasted again for free and will be visible for most viewers outside Japan and Korea), but it still can be more. With the ISU council people being elderly it took some time, but they are getting there. Hopefully the ISU will be able to broadcast more on their channel in the future.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    We are in year 2013 now. TV is slowly being phased out by on-demand services and the internet.

    Screw TV coverage. ISU needs to get their heads out of the sand, face reality and really start pushing the social media angle and open up access through the use of internet (which would be very simple to do - simply have a clause in the TV contracts allowing ISU to broadcast online the parts which do not get aired - Ice Network has been doing that for US Nats).
    Exactly. The ISU live stream is great and I know that it is not accessible to those with a broadcaster. This year they didn't charge to watch the live stream which for my mind is silly if they are wanting to recoup their costs and not that difficult to probably organise nor really expensive to undertake. I have no problem paying for events but they didn't even show Euros this year. And I totally agree with Ziggy about people being able to see the ISU stream for the sections that are not shown by broadcasters. And I am sure people would be happy to pay for that as well.

    What do Ice Network charge for their subscription? I can't access it because I am outside the US but that is another opportunity that the USFSA are missing out on as well.
    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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    Yes I imagine that the fact that most senior ISU officials are older means they are not very social media and internet savvy. And I think that the public relations/communications aspect is something that ISU could really improve on. Viewers and media are not going to come to you. You have to work really hard to attract them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    What do Ice Network charge for their subscription? I can't access it because I am outside the US but that is another opportunity that the USFSA are missing out on as well.
    It is about $40. Unfortunately this year they couldn't get live broadcast rights to international events, so the coverage sucked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    What do Ice Network charge for their subscription? I can't access it because I am outside the US but that is another opportunity that the USFSA are missing out on as well.
    If you buy a subscription but your IP is based outside of the US, then you can't watch anything other than national events.

    That is because of broadcasting rights. Courtesy of intellectual property laws which are completely out of touch with reality and did not register that an invention called 'the internet' has completely changed the landscape. And that is a wider issue at the heart of the 'piracy' battles.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eislauffan View Post
    Unfortunately the media in the USA seem to be fixated on that female skating star. There are Meryl Davis/Charlie White, two-time World Champions, gold medal contenders for the Olympic Games, but sorry, they are ice dancers. If at least they were a couple off the ice and would create some stories.... The U.S. media is not willing to sell them as stars or they don't think they can sell them.
    I couldn't have said it better, it's totally baffling how the U.S. media has ignored D/W, Charlie has teen idol written all over him, in fact both of them fit a profile that would sell well in Disney-like markets. I also think that partners don't necessarily have to be marketed together all the time, but that rarely seems to happen and when it does it's not even very well handled so I'd better not go there. I don't know if this is just my lack of attention, but it seems to me that six or seven years ago there were more attempts at promoting the US skaters, maybe it's the impact of social media, but the very few articles I see outside of skating publications are very canned in format and just don't seem like they'd make anyone want to seek out a way to watch that skater one day. I wonder if the disappearance of COI could have had an impact, I also wonder what happened to all the agents, there's IMG and Fireworks, but what happened to the ones who worked with Tom Collins?

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    That is because of broadcasting rights. Courtesy of intellectual property laws which are completely out of touch with reality and did not register that an invention called 'the internet' has completely changed the landscape. And that is a wider issue at the heart of the 'piracy' battles.
    So true. The Olympics does the same but to a more extreme degree.
    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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    To get more coverage in the US on tv, the ISU should stop charging broadcasters a fee to transmit the event, or at least lower the cost.
    And so, dear Lord, it is with deep sadness that we turn over to you this young woman, whose dream to ride on a giant swan resulted in her death. Maybe it is your way of telling us... to buy American.

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    I think the ISU should do what the NFL does and create their own internet channel where anyone can subscribe and see all the international competitions live, and access their archive to watch the competition again. They wouldnt even need a commentator. And the NFL site is great - the picture is full HD and the sound is really clear - it's as good as a television picture.

    They really need to take advantage of 21st C technology.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tak View Post
    I think the ISU should do what the NFL does and create their own internet channel where anyone can subscribe and see all the international competitions live, and access their archive to watch the competition again. They wouldnt even need a commentator. And the NFL site is great - the picture is full HD and the sound is really clear - it's as good as a television picture.

    They really need to take advantage of 21st C technology.
    Ooooooh, can I vote for this idea? It would be fabulous for those of us who don't get FS on TV at all.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by GarrAarghHrumph View Post
    To get more coverage in the US on tv, the ISU should stop charging broadcasters a fee to transmit the event, or at least lower the cost.
    I don't think NBC/Universal Sports and the USFSA are paying much, if anything, for the broadcast rigts. I'm pretty sure that the USFSA is buying time on NBC to air the Grand Prix events.

    With the new agreement that begins next season, NBC will be airing almost 30 hours of figure skating coverage per season (20 hours of ISU events, plus at least 9 hours of coverage from Skate America and Nationals). That's almost as much coverage as ABC was airing in the late-90s and early-00s, and it's far more coverage than any other Olympic sport receives on free-to-air TV these days. The real growth in coverage needs to come through the internet and social media, not TV.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziggy View Post
    If you buy a subscription but your IP is based outside of the US, then you can't watch anything other than national events.

    That is because of broadcasting rights. Courtesy of intellectual property laws which are completely out of touch with reality and did not register that an invention called 'the internet' has completely changed the landscape. And that is a wider issue at the heart of the 'piracy' battles.
    Don't subscribe to Ice Network if you are in Australia. I did that without realising Australia is geo-blocked, complained and received typical stupid answers. Never got my 20 bucks back. I will never ever subscribe to Ice Network again! Now in Australia we can get FREE live streaming from ru.tv sports. The live streaming may not be the best but it's free so I shouldn't complain, but instead am thankful.
    Prosperity makes friends, adversity tries them. – Publilius Syrus

  20. #20
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    Television coverage has been non-existent for those who want to watch in the US. In Canada it is hit or miss how much you get to see of every event, unlike the 90's coverage. Not only does there need to be more coverage, but the coverage needs to have good commentary and someone knowledgeable about CoP - NOT - tannith, scott, sandra, peter or for the canadians - rod black spewing their non sense. In the past I would have advocated for Tracy Wilson, but this year I found her to be less informative.

    Of course this type of coverage could come from an online subscription network of some sort that is not geoblocked and streamed in HD. It would be nice to be able to see Europeans and various National competitions without having to hunt for videos on youtube.

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