Originally Posted by dorispulaski
Agreed. When Scott Hamilton started up SOI it was because that even while he was an olympic champion, he was considered 'lesser' because of his gender. The American market was thought to not have room for a male skater taking over the top spot. SOI gave an outlet for skaters to be the stars - granted in those days they had some sort of championship to their name (at least the singles skaters) but mainly it was scott's skating buddies all getting together and showing off for the crowds, and it worked. Brian Boitano did the same thing.
I think the Olympic Championship gets your foot in teh door if you're trying to create something, but it's not what draws the crowds. Not sure Evan would have the same success as Scott and Brian - mainly because he's just not as charasmatic (and this is coming from someone who really likes the guy) but sponsors would jump on a chance with him before they would with, say, Ryan Bradley (or even Johnny) because Evan has the gold.
Now we're seeing the 'golden era' shows falter much like Capades did before them. SOI is scrambling trying to figure out what works, I'm not sure what would, but my feeling is that it's the cast make up. Most are 'guest stars' not skating in every show, and they don't seem to be as buddy buddy. The guys are (Todd, Mike) better at keeping that sort of thing up, but I get the vibe that the cast are all about being "stars" and are in their own bubbles... it's only natural to compare them to casts of the past. I can remember reading and watching the antics of the 'golden boys and girls' and it was pure hilarity (like the year the guys were playing football backstage waiting for the show to start and they somehow flooded the hallway with teh sprinkler system.). Don't see that now.
Actually mathman I think it's only been five or six years. She left SOI in 2002 and still skated after the birth of her first daughter.
Kristi will be forty next year and hasn't skated for ten years.
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.
If only it were that simple, though. You are making it sound like TV is a free thing that skating just isn't using. That's not the case. Because viewership is down on TV the sponsorship (commercials) are down. No one is going to pay a billion dollars for 50,000 housewives to sit and watch skating... when something like the Superbowl brings in Trillions of viewers world wide. The economy is tight EVERYWHERE. Skating is a very SMALL niche viewership. Until there's another huge controversy outside of the judging (aka another cat fight with a baseball bat) you're not going to see the viewership or sponsorship with this sport. It's not sensational enough. Michelle Kwan couldn't keep up the viewership, but she was winning everything. Much like golf and Tiger Woods, you don't see as many televised golf events these days either. Same with Tennis.