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Thread: Skating Demographics? Who watches skating?

  1. #1
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Skating Demographics? Who watches skating?

    I'm curious what people think is the quintessential skating fan?

    According to what I've read, skating is the marquee event of the Olympics, because it draws tv's target audience of women ages 25-35. However, from what I've seen at skating events, the majority of audience members seem to be elderly (probably due to travel logistics). And from what I've read on internet forums, skating's most diehard fans seem to be children about college-age and under. And from personal experience, it seems that being a skating fan is more of an egocentric activity than social. If I was a marketer, this combination of groups would seem like a difficult one to resolve.

    Additionally, except during the Olympics I find that people are not interested in talking about figure skating, and I can barely drag my friends to go to events with me. It's almost like one has to be a closet skating fan in society. I definitely don't consider it a sociable sport to like, or to participate in for that matter. When I was in college, watching skating was definitely not a dorm-get-together type of activity. Do you guys think that being a skating fan means being more anti-social or introverted than the average person?

    Personally, I think that one of the reasons that skating is so unpopular is that it lacks star talent. Very few of the professionals ever knew how to put together an interesting routine. And many of the amateurs, with the exception of Kwan, Cohen, and Yagudin, skate just like... amateurs. I can understand how for many people, when they turn on the tv and see a splatfest and skaters with sloppy form and expressionless faces, it can be a turnoff. Then there are weird things on the ice like Plushenko and I understand why people reach for the remote. I'm even embarrassed to watch him. I think being a skating fan really tests our patience, but I always watch for those one or two brilliant performances out of every 100. But I think that the average joe just doesn't have that patience. I'd rather pay $200 to see the ABT perform at the Met, knowing that I'm going to see quality, than go to SOI. And when I watch something like a GP event, I'm not always sure if I'm not wasting my time. I feel bad for complaining, but I'm just saying that maybe it's one reason that skating's audience is not growing.

  2. #2
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    Female, 18, Alaska USA... is that all you need to know to get a good idea of where this fan is coming from?

  3. #3
    Rinkside
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    fan base

    I think you will find that people busy raising children do not have time (or money) to be avid fans. When my children were growing up I was too busy with laundry, cleaning, cooking, taking children to their various activities,to have many interests of my own. We watched Olympic figure skating as a family, and I enjoyed it immensely, and would have liked to pursue it, but lacked the time. Now that my children are grown I have time for my own interests. I think that is why many "elderly" women are seen at skating events. Now they have the time and money that they didn't have in the past.
    The other fans are mostly those who do not yet have children of their own (unless their children are skaters). Raising children comsumes a great deal of time and money.
    I've found this same demographic in some of my other interests - the young and the old have the time.

  4. #4
    Sal-Kowabunga!
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    I agree with Jayne. I've liked figure skating and followed some, but didn't have the time and money to get to competitions until my own kids were grown.

    Just going by the people I've met at local and regional and national and worlds competitions, parents bring skating offspring or wannabes, particulary girls. I guess if you are already paying out for ice time and coaching, etc., etc., etc., you might as well take the young skater to competitons as a spectator for the inspiration!
    Last edited by JOHIO2; 11-30-2003 at 12:18 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Skating Demographics? Who watches skating?

    Originally posted by moyesii
    I'm curious what people think is the quintessential skating fan?

    According to what I've read, skating is the marquee event of the Olympics, because it draws tv's target audience of women ages 25-35. However, from what I've seen at skating events, the majority of audience members seem to be elderly (probably due to travel logistics). And from what I've read on internet forums, skating's most diehard fans seem to be children about college-age and under. And from personal experience, it seems that being a skating fan is more of an egocentric activity than social. If I was a marketer, this combination of groups would seem like a difficult one to resolve.
    frankly, we should not expect alot more from the 25-35 age women. They are at a very busy stage in life as far as women go....what with kids, careers etc. What I do know is that I see alot more of these womens too. It is not only the seniours though they seems to be many.

    Originally posted by moyesii
    Additionally, except during the Olympics I find that people are not interested in talking about figure skating, and I can barely drag my friends to go to events with me. It's almost like one has to be a closet skating fan in society. I definitely don't consider it a sociable sport to like, or to participate in for that matter. When I was in college, watching skating was definitely not a dorm-get-together type of activity. Do you guys think that being a skating fan means being more anti-social or introverted than the average person?.
    no. I think skating fans have enough to deal with. i.e. skating is not a sport.

    Originally posted by moyesii
    Personally, I think that one of the reasons that skating is so unpopular is that it lacks star talent. Very few of the professionals ever knew how to put together an interesting routine. And many of the amateurs, with the exception of Kwan, Cohen, and Yagudin, skate just like... amateurs. I can understand how for many people, when they turn on the tv and see a splatfest and skaters with sloppy form and expressionless faces, it can be a turnoff. Then there are weird things on the ice like Plushenko and I understand why people reach for the remote. I'm even embarrassed to watch him. I think being a skating fan really tests our patience, but I always watch for those one or two brilliant performances out of every 100. But I think that the average joe just doesn't have that patience. I'd rather pay $200 to see the ABT perform at the Met, knowing that I'm going to see quality, than go to SOI. And when I watch something like a GP event, I'm not always sure if I'm not wasting my time. I feel bad for complaining, but I'm just saying that maybe it's one reason that skating's audience is not growing.
    skating is unpopular because it is not considered a sport.period. Nothing to do with whether the pro are not putting together a great program that will make the world notice skating, hence, increase the popularity. If anything, I wouldn't put the blame squarely on the skaters, be it in pro or amatuers.

  6. #6
    Custom Title Jhar55's Avatar
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    I am 48, one reason you see more older people at the events could be do to the cost and the day of the event. If it held on a school night most school age children couldn't attend do to the time thing. Until 10yrs ago I couldn't go because I didn't live close enough to where they were held and had kids in school.
    Now the shows don't even come to my area.

  7. #7
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    From what I've read, the target group for figure skating events is women 30-45 and their teenaged and preteen daughters. I was just watching the Cup of China coverage on ABC. The sponsors were Oil of Oley skin cream, Smart Ones diet food, Crest Whitestrips, Gain laundry detergent, State Farm Insurance (presenting the insurance need of a young and growing family), Cascade housecleaning products, Nyquil cold medicine, Tampax tampons, and Campbell Soup.

    The problem for figure skating is that advertisers can reach this demographic by many other means, such as print ads and spots on other kinds of television and radio shows. As I understand it, the ISU is going to have to take a big cut in its next contract with ABC television in the U.S., with similar retrenchment in other countries, for this reason.

    With respect to attendance at live events, as part of the grandparent brigade I have to agree with those on this thread who have made the point that people nearing retirement have more time and probably more money to spend on such entertainments than do people involved in raising young families.

    Interesting question about whether figure skating fans are less extroverted than fans of other sports. Certainly we don't see the equivalent of figure skating Cheeseheads (Green Bay Packer fans) who start their tail-gate parties the night before the game to make sure they are good and pickled by the time they tear the goal posts down the next day. (Let's all swarm the ice and set the Zamboni on fire, LOL) My impression from attending events, however, is that there is the same mix of personalities that you would expect in any group.

    About amateur skaters skating like amateurs -- well, of course they do. With that as a given, why shouldn't figure skating be able to generate the same kind of fan enthusiasm as, say, the March Madness of college basketball? I don't really mind when some of these competitions turn out to be splatfests. These youngsters are pushing themselves to the utmost of what is possible for the human body to do. It's like pole vaulting. If you set the bar at 19 feet, only the champion will make it over and everyone else will splat. That's the nature of sport (as opposed to show skating, where you only attempt elements that you know you can do, and even if you fall, you get a do-over which they splice into the video before they show it on TV).

    On the other hand, watching these competitions does give us an ever new appreciation of what athlete/artists like Michelle Kwan bring to the table, each and every performance.

    But why pick on Plushenko? He's cool.

    Mathman
    Last edited by Mathman; 11-30-2003 at 10:40 PM.

  8. #8
    Tripping on the Podium
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    Originally posted by Mathman
    But why pick on Plushenko? He's cool.
    It's just that he reminds me of a castrato.

  9. #9
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Oh, goodness no! Didn't you see "Sex Bomb?"

  10. #10
    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    Non-competitive skating can be very social. You can flirt, hold hands with someone special, laugh while falling, etc.

    As for viewing, it is hard for me to watch skating shows on TV or live with anyone who wants to chat throughout. When watching skating, you really can't look away or risk missing something spectacular. I definitely can't multi-task when skating is on.

    Once, I was in the middle of a game of pictionary when skating came on the air. After that, my team went downhill because my attention was on the TV - the only rounds we won while skating was on TV were during the commercials. When the show was over, I was able to contribute enough concentration to make a come from behind win for the all-girl team. After that, the guys would always try to play a game while skating was being aired.

  11. #11
    On Edge Piel's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Mathman
    Let's all swarm the ice and set the Zamboni on fire, LOL

    Mathman
    So that's why we're not getting any ice shows here?:D

    Piel(doing the Gator chop)
    Last edited by Piel; 11-30-2003 at 10:53 PM.

  12. #12
    Zhenya's Girl
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    The way I figure is that if I enjoy watching figure skating during the Olympics, why not watch it all the time? :D

    Cynthia Marie

  13. #13
    Tripping on the Podium
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    heyang, :D

    I also have to give skating my full attention when I'm watching. It is a very introverted activity!
    As for viewing, it is hard for me to watch skating shows on TV or live with anyone who wants to chat throughout. When watching skating, you really can't look away or risk missing something spectacular. I definitely can't multi-task when skating is on.

  14. #14
    Da' Spellin' Homegirl Grgranny's Avatar
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    Don't we wish we knew the answer?
    Here I am 74 years old and love it. I think I am the only one in town (pop around 5,000) that really cares. I do know that my next door neighbor likes it. She's 82. Doubt she has ever gone to see any live. I get teased a lot. Everyone thinks I'm weird.
    Well, maybe I am.

  15. #15
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Skating Demographics? Who watches skating?

    moyesii:

    That was a mouthful! Let me see if I can put it in a "nutshell" for you.

    Skating used to be a very "elite" sport - mainly because of the expense, but here in Canada, kids always have had the advantage of being able to skate outdoors and most kids (now adults) can remember having a rink in their back yard to practice on. The lessons were not so costly if one took group lessons. It's the private lessons and competitive level where it gets expensive.

    As for the demographics - I don't know if that is the correct term here - but figure skating fans are pretty much universal now from young to old. We have them all ages here in Canada. Of course, our male populace claim hockey as their number one sport, but I have heard them talking about figure skating and seen them attending competitions and shows.

    At one time, it was mostly skaters and their families who followed figure skating, now I meet all kinds of people at work and other places who love to watch figure skating.

    Anyone who thinks figure skating is not a sport is kidding themselves. It takes a great amount of strength and agility to skate.

    I love figure skating and always will. I thank my mom and dad for buying me my first pair of figure skates all those years a go and my dad for flooding the back yard in Prince George, so I could get in extra practice! I would not trade that experience for anything.



    Last edited by Ladskater; 12-02-2003 at 12:40 AM.

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