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Thread: Commentary by Sonia

  1. #31
    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Floundering? After US Skating kicked your butts at WTT
    Your tone here reminds me of some of the very strange posts you had a few months ago. Has Canada done something to offend you? You were the one who suggested that skating was "floundering" when, in fact, it is not - certainly not in the US.

    I love to skate was spot on: US skating is in great shape, but the public isn't interested because there's no pretty princess who can consistently get to the top of the podium - nor any female skater who looks as though she'll have MK's longevity and influence. It doesn't help that the TV market is so fragmented or that US broadcasters are always the first to cry wuzrobbed instead of, you know, actually telling viewers what's going on or promoting the excellent American men and ice dancers.

    Seriously, ISU has lost a ton of TV money. FYI we have limited coverage here this season and Europe has less.
    Actually we have about the same coverage we've always had. The US has more, from what I gather. Last year was an exception in Europe as ES showed all the GP series and some of Junior Worlds, in addition to the usual wall to wall live coverage of Euros and Worlds. Russian TV continues to show just about everything. During TEB, Bercy was pretty much packed for the LPs and there was a good sized audience for the SPs - on a work day.

    The loss of so much big TV money, which typically used to be the largest income generator for ISU not only hurts ISU but is a fair barometer for judging the saleabilty and attractiveness of skating.
    US tv money went, Japanese money came in. The only reason the US had a WTT to win was that someone put up a lot of money to host what was essentially a glorified on the record cheesefest. Considering the success of Japanese skaters on the JGP circuit, I think the sport should stay in good shape there.

    ETA gsrossano, thanks for pointing out the correction. I think it's pretty lame for Ms. Bianchetti to correct her column without noting what the revision was (which is standard practice for journalists and for many bloggers). Ending her column with the dig about the math being too difficult for the ISU, when she herself obviously didn't bother getting it right, is not something for her to be proud of, either.
    Last edited by Buttercup; 10-22-2009 at 03:26 PM.

  2. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsrossano View Post
    Can't agree it is a laughable exaggeration. There is clearly a random component to the results using the current calculation method. It does not come into play for every skater or every medal, but it does come into play. It should not be a part of determining an athletic competition.

    (We can have an animated discussion on this in Lake Placid.)

    (And BTW the error in the next to last graph has been corrected.)
    I am astonished such a keen observer as yourself let it through unscathed.

  3. #33
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    Just a word on how skating is "floundering" in the U.S. While it is certainly true money has declined dramatically since the glory years (approx. 1994-2002 or so) there have been recent small, positive signs, including the signing of a new TV contract and the addition of several sponsors. Relentless negativism does no one any good.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nylynnr View Post
    I am astonished such a keen observer as yourself let it through unscathed.
    My embarassment knows no bounds

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    Your tone here reminds me of some of the very strange posts you had a few months ago. Has Canada done something to offend you? You were the one who suggested that skating was "floundering" when, in fact, it is not - certainly not in the US.
    .
    I thought it was pretty obvious that my WTT comment was nothing more than a friendly joke. I also think I said very complimentary things about Canada and Canadian athletes several times in the post you are referring to. You are right about a post I made several months ago that was in extremely poor taste and totally uncalled for. To connect it with my last post requires a gigantic leap of faith.

    I am aware of WTT's relative lack of importance which is precisely why I made a light hearted reference to it. I am also a fan of Ice Dancing, Pairs and the Men's field. I don't understand what you were implying but since I know you are a fair minded person I will take it for what it was.

    I would be interested if anyone here can offer some facts into the state of ISU finances to show I am wrong and that ISU is indeed very prosperous.
    BTW, the old US TV deal through ESPN used to pay what % of ISU's total income? Was it more than Japan and Europe combined? Whatever it was it is way, way down.

    Japan and Korea have a strong interest in skating - they just don't pay half of what the US TV market used to pay to the ISU. AFAIK, the overall TV revenues are way down from several years ago. Whether I like a "pretty princess" or other disciplines is perhaps your issue or I Love To Skates issue but it really doesn't apply to me because I will be rooting for our guys and also our Dance/Pairs teams this year.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by nylynnr View Post
    Just a word on how skating is "floundering" in the U.S. While it is certainly true money has declined dramatically since the glory years (approx. 1994-2002 or so) there have been recent small, positive signs, including the signing of a new TV contract and the addition of several sponsors. Relentless negativism does no one any good.

    Is "relentless negativism" about a skating article going to bring down skating? Please, I don't think so

    Start the thread over and it is pretty clear the "relentless negativism" you mention started here over Sonia's article. I defended parts of it and was met by a barrage of negative comments.

    It seems like this has been a disputed but failry civil series of posts.

  7. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Japan and Korea have a strong interest in skating - they just don't pay half of what the US TV market used to pay to the ISU. AFAIK, the overall TV revenues are way down from several years ago. Whether I like a "pretty princess" or other disciplines is perhaps your issue or I Love To Skates issue but it really doesn't apply to me because I will be rooting for our guys and also our Dance/Pairs teams this year.
    It's great that you will be supporting the other disciplines but the majority of the US audience wont be and that is where the USFSA and the networks need to do some serious problem solving. If the US announcers keep crying over the judging system and the networks primarily only air the Ladies division, there is no way people are going to be drawn into watching a skating event.

  8. #38
    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    I thought it was pretty obvious that my WTT comment was nothing more than a friendly joke. I also think I said very complimentary things about Canada and Canadian athletes several times in the post you are referring to. You are right about a post I made several months ago that was in extremely poor taste and totally uncalled for. To connect it with my last post requires a gigantic leap of faith.
    Well, it was a pretty memorable post, and I thought you were going in a similar direction here. My mistake. I'm glad that's all in the past; at the time I was actually concerned because it was such a strange thing to write, and then you completely disappeared.

    I am aware of WTT's relative lack of importance which is precisely why I made a light hearted reference to it. I am also a fan of Ice Dancing, Pairs and the Men's field. I don't understand what you were implying
    I was pointing out that unlike real fans, which of course you are, the casual US fans seem unaware that they have skaters who are not female, and the US media isn't doing a good job in promoting these athletes - a pity, because the best US skaters are really strong and deserve more publicity.

    I would be interested if anyone here can offer some facts into the state of ISU finances to show I am wrong and that ISU is indeed very prosperous.
    BTW, the old US TV deal through ESPN used to pay what % of ISU's total income? Was it more than Japan and Europe combined? Whatever it was it is way, way down.
    Ha ha, you will get those figures out of Speedy's cold dead hands. Possibly not even then.

  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by i love to skate View Post
    It's great that you will be supporting the other disciplines but the majority of the US audience wont be and that is where the USFSA and the networks need to do some serious problem solving. If the US announcers keep crying over the judging system and the networks primarily only air the Ladies division, there is no way people are going to be drawn into watching a skating event.

    Here are some statistics from US Skating.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    In April 2007, NBC Sports and U.S. Figure Skating announced a multiyear partnership under which NBC will broadcast live high-definition coverage of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, including Saturday night primetime coverage of the ladies free skate, as well as Skate America. The unique partnership includes 10 hours of event coverage and various marketing and broadband rights, highlighted by additional live event coverage on NBCSports.com and U.S. Figure Skating's icenetwork.com.

    Who watches figure skating?

    70% of women consider themselves figure skating fans
    54% of the total population 12+ is interested in figure skating
    68% are women age 25-54
    65% 1+ years in college
    63% are in $50M+ income households
    Figure skating fans are educated and affluent
    Figure skating is the highest-ranked sport among the U.S. population 12+ in fan base
    Women sports fans prefer to watch figure skating over college basketball, college football, tennis and the NHL
    Figure skating is the most popular spectator sport among American women and their teenage daughters
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Also, I saw that at Torino US viewers interest in events were very similar with ladies topping at 15%, Dance /Pairs at 12% and Men's at 11%.

    That spread is not as wide as I might have imagined considering Sasha was a leading medal contender in Torino.

    But this information does not feel right to me..........

  10. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    70% of women consider themselves figure skating fans
    54% of the total population 12+ is interested in figure skating
    68% are women age 25-54
    65% 1+ years in college
    63% are in $50M+ income households
    Figure skating fans are educated and affluent
    Figure skating is the highest-ranked sport among the U.S. population 12+ in fan base
    Women sports fans prefer to watch figure skating over college basketball, college football, tennis and the NHL
    Figure skating is the most popular spectator sport among American women and their teenage daughters...

    But this information does not feel right to me...
    I would feel happier if these figures came from an independent polling organization than from the figure skating establishment.

    As the saying goes, if you're all that popular, why aren't you rich?

  11. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    I would be interested if anyone here can offer some facts into the state of ISU finances to show I am wrong and that ISU is indeed very prosperous.
    Here are a couple of articles that discuss this. Phil Hersh wrote in January of this year:

    "The International Skating Union, the sport's global governing body, is becoming more dependent than ever on its share of International Olympic Committee TV revenues -- about $6.5 million a year. As for ISU president Ottavio Cinquanta: 'He better hope the IOC gets more money from the Olympics because he is no longer getting that kind of money for his own product on television in the United States or Canada,' {David] Raith [executive director of the USFSA] said."

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/spor...ings-i-kn.html

    It is my impression that the ISU per se does not get very much money from television deals for popular skating events in Japan and Korea, such as the World Team Trophy and the recent Yu-na Kim show featuring Michelle Kwan.

    Quote Originally Posted by Janetfan
    BTW, the old US TV deal through ESPN used to pay what % of ISU's total income? Was it more than Japan and Europe combined?
    I remember reading that the U.S. television money accounted for somewhat over 50% of the ISU's total budget, back in the glory days, 1994-1999. According to this Sonia Bianchetti article from 2007, the ABC contract that expired in 2004 was for $22,000,000 (for four years). The ESPN contract that went from 2004 to 2008 paid only only $5,000,000.

    http://www.soniabianchetti.com/writings_openletter.html

    As for the current situation, Cinquanta ended up giving NBC the television rights for Los Angeles Worlds last year for free. As far as I know the ISU does not get anything at all from U.S. television currently. (?)

    About the USFSA, , the old ABC contract (1994-1999, then extended to 2007), was for $12,000,000 per year for television rights to U.S. events alone. The details of the present contract with NBC are a little fuzzy, but it seems to be based on revenue-sharing if they are able to sell enough sponsorship, rather than hard cash flowing from NBC to the USFSA's coffers.
    Last edited by Mathman; 10-22-2009 at 06:59 PM.

  12. #42
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    Thanks for posting the financial information mathman and for providing links to the sources..

    Hopefully this downward trend will bottom out and a new and better cycle will begin soon. Honestly though, having to give Worlds broadcast rights away for free reflects as much on ISU management/buisness skills as it does on skating interest in the USA.

    USA skating fans better get down on their knees and pray for another M. to come along soon (sorry, I coudn't resist )
    Last edited by janetfan; 10-22-2009 at 07:39 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Buttercup View Post
    YourETA gsrossano, thanks for pointing out the correction. I think it's pretty lame for Ms. Bianchetti to correct her column without noting what the revision was (which is standard practice for journalists and for many bloggers). Ending her column with the dig about the math being too difficult for the ISU, when she herself obviously didn't bother getting it right, is not something for her to be proud of, either.
    I am the lame person in question since it is my responsibility to fact check what appears on my site and missed it, as my friend nylynnr noted. And I am the one who added the note that that particular graph was revised without stating what was revised.

    And despite the original error in a couple of the numbers in that graph, it's main point (one that I agree with) is that the fundamental math of IJS is all screwed up and the ISU is unwilling to open that can of worms and correct it.

    Along the lines of what someone else said about debating techniques, there can be errors in one's arguments, but that does not necessarily mean the point being made is wrong. It may only mean that some of the facts to support the point is wrong. In this case my view is the point being made was/is correct, and the example to support the point at first had some errors but now is also correct.
    Last edited by gsrossano; 10-22-2009 at 09:01 PM.

  14. #44
    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gsrossano View Post
    And despite the original error in a couple of the numbers in that graph, it's main point (one that I agree with) is that the fundamental math of IJS is all screwed up and the ISU is unwilling to open that can of worms and correct it.
    Oh, I agree with that in principle, though I'm sure we each have different ideas regarding the specifics. I didn't see it as the main point of the article, and I actually think it would have been more interesting to expand on that topic, because the rest of it, well, I've read before. Thanks for your response to my previous post and for the clarifications...

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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Under 6.0, based on their performances, Evan and Jonny's positions would have changed in Torino. To say they wouldn't have is really quite a stretch imo.
    If the placements in each phase of the event had been the same and if the event had been scored under with factored placements for short program plus long program, the overall standings for the top 5 men in Torino would have been as follows:

    Plushenko 1 1 1.5
    Buttle 6 2 5.0
    Lambiel 3 4 5.5
    Weir 2 6 7.0
    Lysacek 10 3 8.0

    In other words, assuming the placement in each program was the same, Buttle would have been able to pull up further with his good long program, but Lysacek would not have been able to pull up quite as far and would not have passed Weir in the standings.

    How the factored placements worked out would all depend on how the other skaters placed in relation to the skaters we're looking at.

    And how the skaters placed in each program would depend on what ordinals the judges gave them in relation to all the other skaters.

    With results as mixed up as these, undoubtedly there would have been place switching during the long program as a result of factored placements changing with each subsequent skater, and quite likely standings within the long program itself would have changed as the ordinals got mixed up further with subsequent skaters.

    There likely would have been mixed ordinals -- even if all judges had Lysacek ahead of Weir in the LP, how many had Lambiel ahead of Lysacek, or Lambiel or Savoie behind Weir or Joubert ahead of him might also have changed the long program standings.

    Also, exactly what the results of each program would have been, given a set of 9 or 10 or 12 judges' ordinals, might have been different depending on whether results were calculated by majority (as used up to 1998) or by OBO (as used 1998/99-2004), and which judges' marks, if any, were randomly selected not to count in the final standings (as in the "interim system" of 2003 and 2004).

    So it's really impossible to say exactly what the results of the Torino men's event "would have been" if judged under 6.0, aside from first place.

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