Ok, and there are always exceptions to the rule.
Originally Posted by gkelly
Why in your opinion has ISU changed the GP selection format? The reduction in skaters would seem clear enough as they are trying to cut costs.
But why three chances for the top seeds to skate this season?
Doesn't it follow that with fewer of the lower level skaters and possibly more of the best skaters ISU is hoping for more exciting and competitive events?
If all the seeds do three events, then at each event there will be 4 seeds, 2 Worlds 7-12 skaters, and 3 host picks (except maybe France and China). That leaves 1 spot per event for the top 1-24 SB and WR.
But I think by the 5th event, you are going to have some exhausted seeds and there may even be dropouts at the GPF. Remember also that France, Russia and Japan all have their Nationals in December. It's a bit much for top skaters from those countries to have to do 3 events, a GPF and Nationals in two months' time. I have a hunch that not all the seeds will opt for 3 events, despite the $10K carrot.
There are always a couple of exceptions -- top skaters having a bad day or a bad year for one reason or another.
Originally Posted by Hernando
There are always talented newcomers who earned their way onto the GP with junior medals last year (maybe they were even too young for senior last year).
There are a handful of talented skaters who are having a strong year. Those are the ones the general public most wants to see.
There are a lot more pretty good journeyman skaters who are capable of placing top 12 or top 10 or even top 6 at Worlds on a good day and maybe not making top 24 on a bad day.
They're probably medalists from their own nationals, and if there is national television coverage of skating in their home country, then they have fans at home who want to watch them skate. Fans in other countries may be less interested in the #3skater from a country that only had 2 spots at Worlds last year. If their federation is also a Grand Prix host they can get invited to the home event that way.
Some of those mid-range skaters may do better on this year's Grand Prix than they did last year. Others may do worse. Actually, the same is true for seeded skaters. It's hard to predict at the time the assignments/invitations are made.
From the point of view of marketing to fans and TV networks, it's important to make sure there are some local and international stars at each event, enough who are competitive with each other that the medals or the gold medal will not be a foregone conclusion. But if one seeded skater really steps up his or her game and the others withdraw or get a slow start to the season, you may still get a GP event where the winner runs away with the title.
The skaters who come into the GP with lower rankings and are not already stars known to the public may be less likely to contend for medals. But again there are always exceptions. The general public won't already be familiar in advance with the juniors moving up to senior, but when they have a breakout performance at their first GP event, they can establish themselves as new stars. Each year some new seniors bring fresh excitement to the senior scene and others have disappointing debuts that they may or may not redeem in future seasons.
Some well-known veterans may be past their peak or may have had a disappointing season last year and are now on the comeback trail. Again, it's hard to know who will successfully rebound at the time the invitations are issues. But often these veterans already have fan followings, in their home countries or in countries where they had successful competitions in the past. So including some of these well-known names is another way to attract fans
And then there are skaters who aren't very well known, aren't very charismatic or exciting, don't attract many fans especially outside their home countries, but they got the job done last year and earned high enough placements and rankings to deserve GP assignments, by beating skaters who do have the charisma and past titles to attract more fans.
So where do you make the cutoff on how many skaters to invite to the series and how to choose which ones?
How many entries per discipline make for a satisfying event for spectators? How many make the event too drawn out for casual fans and too expensive to host? How many is too few for fans to feel they got their money's worth of entertainment, especially if several skaters end up withdrawing at the last minute?
It's a balancing act. If you include too many skaters, you risk boring the audience and spending too much money. If you include too few, you risk leaving out skaters that fans really wanted to see and you risk ending up with too small a field if there are withdrawals. And then from the point of view of fairness, if you include fan favorites who didn't earn top results last year, you kind of have to include less well-known skaters who did earn the results.
All good points except for the most important. You referred to the general public as if they really care alot about skating these days.
Originally Posted by gkelly
From what I pick up at GS it seems like TV broadcasts are down in Europe and in USA we had no coverage of 4CC either on TV or internet.
I did manage to see Worlds on the internet and very limited delayed GP coverage on NBC.
If your analysis is correct about good days, injuries, new skaters, etc does it matter if figure skating is shown less and less to the "general public"?
BTW, a big day for soccer fans in USA as the UEFA champions leaugue final from Europe is being broadcast Live this afternoon on national network TV.
And hours and hours of French Open tennis as well.
In fact there are so many stations and hours and hours of so many sports being broadcast these days it is.......mindboggling that skating almost feels like it is being phased out.
I think all your points are good but it is much more important for ISU to figure out ways to bring this "general public" you referred to back to the sport.
Well, allowing the existing stars (and a few others who happened to do well enough last year to get seeded) to do three events will add some more drawing power to the GP. I assume that's why they're doing that.
Cutting the fields from 12 to 10 for singles and less than that for dance and pairs won't attract more fans. But it will save some money on expenses.
TV coverage that's geared toward the general public rather than toward people who are already fans often shows only the top 3-6 per discipline regardless of the size of the field -- including at Worlds, historically. In the US, it's often tape delayed so they can choose which skaters to show after they know who skated well. From that point of view it doesn't matter whether there are 6 skaters in the event or 30.
I don't see why we have to praise or condemn the ISU for changing the non-broken system of GP selections. I don't believe the ISU explained the reasons for the change to a new system. The ISU should have a statement somewhere clarifying their reasons. We are left to surmise its rationale. It does seem that the problem is financial.
I don't think it has much to do with the TV audience. TV at its highest interest was not overwhelmed with the GP Series. It is the boxoffice audience that may be hurting. And that audience has to pay for the logistics of running the show. Maybe they should look into the venue cities to see if the locals are still interested in figure skating.
With the addition of Seeded skaters getting to perform again (I use perform rather than compete) is gimmicky and against all sorts of gamemanship. Whose to say these "celebs" will attract a crowd to the Arena? Filling the Arena consists of school kids, women, FS fans in the local area (how many?) and FS fans who travel (how many?)
It boils down to How Popular is Figure Skating Today Among the Masses? Will a revised GP series spur more interest? Are you panting to see yet a 3rd skate of a Team whom you have already seen twice. Will it be for Sport or for Performance?