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Thread: ISU will no longer provide funding for Skate America

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    The Zamboni Rocks!!! sillylionlove's Avatar
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    ISU will no longer provide funding for Skate America

    Did anyone read the article on the home page about that the ISU will no longer provide funding for Skate America? It was part of a USFSA report but here is the part that discusses this (i cut and pasted it...hope is is ok. Here is the link in case you want to read the whole thing http://usfigureskating.org/Content/e...esentative.pdf)

    ISU issues: There are three major topics that I want to report to you regarding our international federation: (1) The ISU has informed us that it will no longer provide any operational financial support for Skate America. Based on what the ISU has said directly to me, the ISU has taken this position because the ISU has not been able to sell its television rights to the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series in the United States – so we are, in effect, punished because of the ISU’s inability to sell those rights. We have argued that the ISU should look at the Grand Prix series as a whole and provide equitable financial support to the federations participating in the series. To date, that argument has been rejected by the ISU, but we plan to continue our discussion of this subject with the ISU in an effort to get financial support for Skate America.

    Way to go Speedy!! First no television, then probably no competition and then no skating!! This is really a way to dimish the sport even more here in the States!! But I blame the networks too for not wanting to air it. Frankly I am surprised that NBC didn't want to air it to hype up the Olympics.
    Last edited by sillylionlove; 04-21-2009 at 02:08 PM.

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    Custom Title LeCygne's Avatar
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    Oh jeez, this sucks. I don't know what to say. NBC has broadcasted Nationals for the past 2 years and Worlds this year to "hype up the Olympics," but frankly they haven't tried too hard to do a good job of it. Two hours of a one segment of a single discipline is not going to cut it. Universal Sports (part of NBC) and Oxygen have been a bit better especially with LA Worlds, but they're both such obscure networks that are not going to generate much attention...

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    If I recall correctly, NBC signed a three-year deal with US Figure Skating in April 2007, that ran through 2010, to carry the U.S. Championships and Skate America on NBC flagship/Oxygen/NBCUniversal. Presumably one reason why Skate America was moved later in the ISU calendar was to aid NBC in publicizing the run-up to the Olympics. If this is correct, perhaps ISU is peeved because US Figure Skating secured a U.S. broadcast home for Skate America, while there is still no such home for the remainder of the ISU Grand Prix Series. This was the case for the 2008/09 season as well.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    I'm a bit of a dummy on all this.

    What is expected from the ISU TV rights to show Grand Prix series? I presume it is money. So I'm thinking of other international TV outlets and asking if they, too are complying with the wishes of the ISU. Eurosport? Japanes and Chinese TV schedules, etc?

    I'm not looking to cast stones but what is the real story here? I don't think NBC is public giving except to boost the viewership for the Olys. They should have covered the Team Championship in Tokyo to boost interest.

    and, of course: what exactly is it that the ISU wants?

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    Gadfly and Bon Vivant Mafke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz View Post
    I'm a bit of a dummy on all this.
    ... what exactly is it that the ISU wants?
    I think (from another board and I may be mistaken) that what the ISU wanted was to bundle figure and speed skating together and no american networks are that interested in broadcasting lots of speed skating so they passed on the figure skating.

    Someone remind me, just what is it that figure skating gets out of being represented together with speed skating?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mafke View Post
    I think (from another board and I may be mistaken) that what the ISU wanted was to bundle figure and speed skating together and no american networks are that interested in broadcasting lots of speed skating so they passed on the figure skating.

    Someone remind me, just what is it that figure skating gets out of being represented together with speed skating?
    Really? Geesh. That would be like bundling gymnastics with something much less popular like trampoline or sports acrobatics and then trying to sell the package deal. Nobody cares about speed skating!!!

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    Beliver in Sasha's Perfect Program Tinymavy15's Avatar
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    does that mean no more SA? That would really mess up the GPF qualification system, not to mention further degreade US skating on TV!

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    Had enough of speedy yet? I certainly have.

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    Speedy is just ridiculously useless. What's next? No TEB? No prize money? Fire all the judges and judge the skaters himself?

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    Awaiting Boris and Oleg
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    Although the speed and figure skating "bundle" could easily explain the whole problem, still I have to think we played our end of things poorly a bit the last few seasons, insisting on such a level of exclusivity for Icenetwork and things like that. I just wonder if that hasn't ruffled some feathers. It's like we're trying to separate ourselves (stupid, stupid, stupid) and hold our "product" as different from everyone else's -- not go with the international team, so to speak, on issues like the TV coverage, etc.

    Course I could be totally off base here. I do think the ISU has to be realistic in what they can expect US networks to pay given skating's lack of popularity in the US. And the USFSA and US networks shouldn't be seen as some cash cow to be milked without getting anything in return.

    It's probably safe to say, though, that USFSA and ISU relations aren't the best ??

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rallycairn View Post
    Although the speed and figure skating "bundle" could easily explain the whole problem, still I have to think we played our end of things poorly a bit the last few seasons, insisting on such a level of exclusivity for Icenetwork and things like that.
    I think the ISU and the USFSA suffer from the same mind set. They both are more interested in maintaining control over their little bailiwick than in expanding the fortumes of the sport as a whole.

    The ISU took over all competitive figure skating by driving pro skating out of existence.

    Now the USFSA is "winning" the you-tube wars, gaining exclusivity for IceNetwork but at the cost of throwing away millions of dollars worth of free publicity for their product.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mafke
    I think (from another board and I may be mistaken) that what the ISU wanted was to bundle figure and speed skating together and no american networks are that interested in broadcasting lots of speed skating so they passed on the figure skating.
    My memory is a little fuzzy on this, but I think that was the issue over the Canadian CBC contract for televising some pre-Olympic events. IIRC the ISU backed down in that case (as they also did in eventually giving away the rights to broadcast the LA worlds for free.)

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    I think the bottom line is that the ISU is going broke.

    The ISU used to get half or more of its revenue from its contract with ABC television in the United States, to the tune of twenty million dollars or so. Now it gets zip.

    Cinquanta is trying to put a bold face on things. This is what he said at Los Angeles (quoting from the Sonia Bianchetti article)

    If figure skating is going down in TV in this country we are sorry but the standard is very high. We are improving the quality.

    If it is not acceptable by the market what can we do? We are not a marketing company.
    So be it. But you can't have it both ways. If you put out a product that the markert does not accept, then you can't turn around and blame someone else (the USFSA) for not being able to sell your product for you.

    One solution would be for Skate America to withdraw from the Grand Prix and go back to the kind of competition it was years ago, before the idea of the Grand Prix came on the scene. It was a kick-off to the skating season via a showcase of American skaters with a few international guest stars.

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    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    maybe the ISU should look into taking the price tag down a bit for the media rights...

    the ISU isn't the only company going broke...

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    Custom Title antmanb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    One solution would be for Skate America to withdraw from the Grand Prix and go back to the kind of competition it was years ago, before the idea of the Grand Prix came on the scene. It was a kick-off to the skating season via a showcase of American skaters with a few international guest stars.
    I agree I think it should go back to benig that competition, maybe it should also use 6.0?! Joking of course unless it is just a national competition. I can't help but feel that Speedy is on the verge of killing the sport.

    I also don't understand why the USFSA are being picked on because broadcasters are refusing to take up the rights for Skate America, does every other country with a GP event air that competition on their national channels? What about the fact that Europsport and Ice network pick up the entire series and final?

    Surely if the ISU are putting the screws on them, then the USFSA should hit back and terminate their contract for Icenetwork - that must pay a pretty penny for it's rights?

    Ant

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    The Zamboni Rocks!!! sillylionlove's Avatar
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    I think that Skate America will be televised here in the US but the rest of the Grand Prix will not. So...speedy decided that since the rest won't be shown...no money for Skate America! I don't think that Skate America will end as I am sure that USFSA will find enough funding for it. But it really doesn't look good going into an Olympic year! And this year might be the end of Skate America (but I sure hope not).

    Surely there has to be some network in the US that wants to show it.(Oxygen, Lifetime, USA, Universal Sports, ESPN, the food network, Cartoon Network, CNN )...and there probably is...but does not want to pay the amount of money that Speedy wants. And putting together speed skating and figure skating....that's just stupid. He really is a moron! I predict that 2011 will be the death of figure skating on television. The Olympics will be over and then no one will care about it....and that's very sad!!

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