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Thread: Please write to ESPN regarding how they can improve!

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  1. #1
    Kwan's vodka dealer VIETgrlTerifa's Avatar
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    Please write to ESPN regarding how they can improve!

    I found this on FSU:

    www.fsuniverse.net/forum/...596&page=2

    It contains an email address where you can write to people in charge of producing the figure skating coverage:

    eskate@espn.com

    I think it is more important than ever to tell them what we, true figure skating fans want to see on American figure skating coverage. As fans that post on the internet, many of you know that many fans have more options and many of them choose not to watch the coverage on ABC/ESPN because they can download better coverage elsewhere. You also know that this has helped the decline in ratings. That is why it is so important to tell them how we feel now!

    They are looking for ways to improve their dismal ratings, and I feel that they will just keep trying to dumb down the coverage and play to the casual viewer. By doing that, they are losing much of the loyal skating fanbase that make up most of their ratings. So, please write to them and tell them what we want. Otherwise, they will keep making the same mistakes and we won't have any American coverage in a couple of seasons and we will only have ourselves to blame.

    Patrick Brunk wrote a much better letter to them that he posted on FSU, but here is what I wrote to them:

    I would first like to thank you for picking up eligible figure skating international competitions after ABC decided not to renew their contract with the ISU.

    However, I have to say that I feel your coverage could have been done much better than the way it was handled last season. I do think a lot of it was due to the fact that it was your first year covering the figure skating season, and you're still learning what the skating viewership wants to see.

    As a loyal fan of figure skating, I would like to give you some insight on what we want to see. I know many things you do are trying to attract new fans, but as the ratings show, your efforts seem to be failing at gaining casual fans while losing the loyal fanbase you already have. There are a lot of means to get the skating coverage now, and American television isn't the only option to see these competitions anymore. That is why it is more important than ever to get the loyal fanbase back and play to them, rather than trying to dumb it down to the casual population.

    I would like to see more competition and less fluff. I don't mind fluff, and I do find some to be very well-done and enjoyable. However, fluff should never take the place of the actual competition. When half or even a quarter of the coverage is fluff, then it's too much. It would be much better to see more skaters competing. There is more to figure skating than the top 4-6. There are many talented and entertaining teams that do not always place in the top 6, but are very worthy contenders. It would be great to see more than 4-6 competitors because as a real sports network, you know that a competition is better with more competitors competing. You're also really lucky right now because figure skating is much more competitive than ever. All of the disciplines (ice dance, mens, ladies, and even pairs to a lesser extent) have top 10 (maybe even more) that can challenge for medals. You really have a goldmine of talent to show, now just show it.

    Also, your audio seems to be very low. I didn't have a problem with the way ABC did their audio, but I notice that everytime I watch ESPN coverage of figure skating, I can barely hear the music while the commentators seem to have their volumes up much higher. Music is every essential to a figure skating program, and everyone (including casual viewers) would much rather hear and watch a figure skating performance with excellent sound and crisp music than watch one with low music and loud commentary.

    It would also be much better if you'd show the competitions much closer to the date they actually occured. Like I said before, figure skating fans have a lot of means to get the coverage now with the internet. In order to stay competitive, you cannot show a competition 2 weeks after they happened. Even one week is pushing it. I know that may sound harsh, but 2 weeks or more is really unacceptable nowadays.

    Now, I know there are some things I've asked that are beyong your control, but I feel that many of the things I and many figure skating fans have asked for are very possible. I mean ESPN shows hours upon hours of Poker and Eating competitions, so I believe managing the time you do have to show figure skating can be easily done.

    Please show the loyal figure skating fanbase that you do care about this particular viewership and that ESPN did not buy figure skating just to team it up with other "women's" sports on nights where ratings aren't strong anyway in a lame attempt to gain some women viewers.

    Again, thank you for buying the rights to figure skating.

  2. #2
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    When writing to ESPN try not to be maudlin. These execs are tough sports guys and the best way to handle them is to make Figure Skating a serious sport that needs substantial coverage. And cut down on the human interest stuff in favor of the actual competition. Be firm.

    Joe

  3. #3
    Custom Title Jhar55's Avatar
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    Why waste your time email ESPN or any other network about skating. They could care less what we'd like to see. Espn ruins skating if you want to tape for veiwing later by running the update thing across the bottom. And the other network by having their logo in the cornor of the screen I think we know what station were watching.
    Yes we'd all like more LIVE skating, not waiting WEEKS after the event to be shown. There is no way they could get by doing that with other sports. So why should skating fans have to.
    Well that's my dollars worth, since a penny doesn't go very far anymore.

  4. #4
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    It's hard to say whether writing letters does any good. But I do think that network executives pay attention to what people like and don't like on TV. I think the shorter the letter is, the more likely someone will actually read it. So I think the best bet is to take one specific thing and give your take on it in just a sentemce or two.

    Personally, I agree with Jhar's second paragraph above. The worst thing is no live coverage. No one wants to see a broadcast of any sporting event after it's all over. We could make the point to ESPN that they are losing their core audience to the Internet and to foreign competition, while at the same time providing nothing of interest to more casual fans.

    Mathman

  5. #5
    Matt Savoie~Soul Skater CzarinaAnya's Avatar
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    Jhar-I think you just wrote the perfect letter! All you have to do is copy and paste what you just said and send. I sent a letter, but not with the points you made.

  6. #6
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CzarinaAnya
    Jhar-I think you just wrote the perfect letter! All you have to do is copy and paste what you just said and send. I sent a letter, but not with the points you made.
    I agree with Jhar but if that went out as a letter would the Execs consider that those suggestions would bring in more money to the ABC family? I think one has to show the financial side of all this.

    Joe

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa
    I found this on FSU:

    www.fsuniverse.net/forum/...596&page=2

    It contains an email address where you can write to people in charge of producing the figure skating coverage:

    eskate@espn.com

    I think it is more important than ever to tell them what we, true figure skating fans want to see on American figure skating coverage. As fans that post on the internet, many of you know that many fans have more options and many of them choose not to watch the coverage on ABC/ESPN because they can download better coverage elsewhere. You also know that this has helped the decline in ratings. That is why it is so important to tell them how we feel now!

    They are looking for ways to improve their dismal ratings, and I feel that they will just keep trying to dumb down the coverage and play to the casual viewer. By doing that, they are losing much of the loyal skating fanbase that make up most of their ratings. So, please write to them and tell them what we want. Otherwise, they will keep making the same mistakes and we won't have any American coverage in a couple of seasons and we will only have ourselves to blame.

    Patrick Brunk wrote a much better letter to them that he posted on FSU, but here is what I wrote to them:
    Excellent letter. I concur with the feelings expressed here. May I make a few suggestions for future?

    Most execs are not likely to read beyond the first or second paragraph. They have too many things to deal with. Try to give them the main points- the bullets. May be even headline it with - "how can ESPN improve its figure skating ratings?"

    Keep the focus on how they can improve the ratings (I know that's what you are telling them, just focus on what THEY want- the bottomline). Perhaps conclude with "If you do this, you will see a big improvement in your ratings". You may even invite them to contact you if they want to discuss this further to get more insight, and they may delegate it to a few low levels to gather that information from fans (although I think I am being way too optimistic here!)

    Some people respond to phone calls better than the plethora of emails they receive, and your point could get lost in the shuffle. In addition to the email, call them and ask for a high level person.

    Thanks for telling us about this. I feel motivated to contact them upon reading your post.

    Vasanti

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