Do ice shows need a gold medalist to assure big audience attendance?
While the economy and the decline in T.V. viewership of skating have obviously impacted ice show attendance, do you think that these shows' lack of a female Olympic gold medalist(in recent years) is also a factor in the declining popularity of these shows?
Two notable American female Gold medalists hung up their skates immediately on reaching adulthood, deciding not to skate as a career, even if the decision cost them millions of dollars of potential earnings. Would the return of those two ladies(as touring professionals) be helpful to boost the popularity of skating as a sport to watch or as a sport to participate in?
Do you mean Olympic gold medalists? I don't know. If you're referring to Sarah and Tara, I think the time has passed in terms of these ladies' power to draw in increased audiences. A lot of people wouldn't know who Sarah Hughes is, considering her short eligible career and lack of any other national or world gold medal. Tara might have a bit bigger recognition factor. But I think the big draw would be, as we've seen, Michelle Kwan. However, I think she has enough on her plate to keep her from a regular touring pro career.
I will point out (though this doesn't affect the logic of your excellent question at all) that Tara did tour professionally for a few years with Stars on Ice. It's hard to tell how much of a draw she was, because she was accompanied by so many other popular skaters, such as Kurt Browning.
Another question I'll add to yours: is it true that the million-dollar paydays would result from professional tours? It seems to me that a more reliable source of such riches would be TV specials like the ones Peggy Fleming used to star in. (Or, better yet, televised pro skating competitions.) Wouldn't it be wonderful if either of those two formats came back? That would give an interesting twist to your question: could any of these four ladies (Sarah, Tara, and I'll include Sasha and Michelle because they have been the better-known skaters during this era) draw in viewers by starring in TV specials or pro skating competitions?
Last edited by Olympia; 10-21-2010 at 11:20 PM.
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