With the upcoming departure of Laura Fawcett from her position as Director of Online Services at U.S. Figure Skating, combined with the recent announcement seeking applications for the new position of Executive Editor for IceNetwork.com, expect major changes for both websites.
In line with the expected increased role for IceNetwork (IN) in the promotion of U.S. figure skating, a recent IN newsletter announced the extension of all current paid subscriptions to the end of August. With this good news, we also have the return of IN's request for feedback from subscribers as to what kind of skating coverage and content we would like to view there.
I encourage all IceNetwork subscribers to respond with your suggestions for what content Ice Network might offer in the future. With that said, below are some thoughts:
Making IceNetwork.com Figure Skating's premire multimedia provider
1. Remember the plans announced for Ice Channel? It was to be for Figure Skating, what the Golf Channel has become for golf coverage. Well, TV networks and cable companies were not interested. My first suggestion to IceNetwork, model much of your future planning around the concept of a full coverage multimedia provider similar to what Ice Channel could have become.
2. Provide not only live and streaming archives of skating competitions, galas, exhibitions, and events from all disciplines, but background on all things skating on and off the ice.
3. Provide a section of the IceNetwork site to promote and market the skaters, Developing, Novice, Junior and Senior levels, with a bio page (i.e. those currently at USFS), and link them to a website complete with blog for each skater to utilize and keep in touch with fans. This should include some kind of "YouTube" environment for the top skaters - where they post video blogs of things like fun moments in their life, both on and off the ice. It is important to allow skaters to define and introduce themselves to a wider audience.
4. Provide regular feature show or two to highlight all areas of figure skating... training, behind the scenes at comps and on tours or to present special events.
5. Develop a weekly Skating Newscast throughout the skating season (highlighting U.S. skating) and a monthly newsmagazine for the off season that covers skating stories and events of a global nature.
6. Move the U.S. Figure Skating message board to IceNetwork and rename accordingly. Hire a full time administrator and then promote it big time.
7. Change the direction of skating promotion in the U.S. away from U.S. Figure Skating.org to IceNetwork.com. With the expected change in marketing strategy, USFS will be mostly an administrative body (if the assumption is correct), therefore IceNetwork will be the marketing tool and promoter of U.S. skating and skaters. Future billboards at skating competitions should feature the IceNetwork logo on the boards at any event covered via this entity.
8. Promote IceNetwork regularly on NBC outlets, TV and Web, as the place on the web to find all things Figure Skating in the U.S.
9. Actively promote a good relationship with all skating boards and blogs to help market IceNetwork events, skaters and features.
10. Make your Newsletter a regular published and distributed presentation of IceNetwork to all subscribers
IceNetwork can and should become the premire multimedia platform on the web.