I've been reading a few articles on disgruntled fans of other sports (especially the NBA) groaning about ESPN's coverage. The NBA is a great example: they use many gimmicks (such as the pop group "Pussycat Dolls"), boring announcers and inconsistent (constantly changing) theme music. They also use many floorcams and skycams during their NBA coverage. (Contrast that to NBC, which through 12 years of coverage, stuck to basically the same announcers and same theme music.) Lack of promotion (or ineffective promotion) hasn't helped the cause, either.
Anyway, it's got me thinking about their presentation of figure skating, and how they basically never promote their GP, Nationals or Worlds telecasts; their only live coverage is the Ladies and Men at Nats; and on their telecasts on ABC, they present a lot of fluff on the skaters baking cookies, shopping, or hanging out at home, as well as tried and true theme music. Add to that delayed coverage, and one can't help but think that this has been part of the factor in declining ratings? Not to blame it completely on this- crooked judging and oversaturation likely contributed more, if not as much- but does the presentation of the product turn us off? In the attempt to gain casual fans by showing Cohen shopping for shoes, are they alienating their core audience?
Recently (in the past year or two) I've started to see an improvement in their coverage of Nats and Worlds. More backstage footage, more informative features, better camera coverage (no skycam). I think of the piece they did on Yu-na Kim during the GPF final broadcast- that was interesting. Still, is the lack of promotion and live coverage helping to hasten the decline of FS? Do you agree that they (ESPN) are getting better? Or do you think that they've hit a new low with coverage?
We're seeing a lot more skating fans go to Youtube and similar sites to get their skating fix...videos are put up almost immediately after the local television markets air the event, which is often a week or so before ESPN televises it.
I'd like to know what the folks here think. I've heard numerous complaints about ESPN's and especially ABC's coverage back when they had the GPs. How much is the product on TV to blame for the declining interest?