[INDENT]Your point about the economy, attyfan, is why I keep stressing televised shows, which could make a big impact for the popularity of skating without counting on ticket sales. This is the reason that movies were so popular during the Depression. For minimal outlay (was it a dime then? It wasn't a lot), audiences could escape the daily grind into a glamorous world of beautiful music and happy endings.
I am aware that in the U.S., if there's any discretionary recreational money in a family, it generally goes to team sports like football, baseball, and basketball. But most people can watch TV.