Skating was more popular before Tonya/ Nancy than it is now. It's at an all time historic low. Blaming the scoring system for not being easy is one way to view it. The scoring system says rotation and not landing gets points. Rotating and not landing wasn't really even counted in 6.0!! Maybe the plan of a jump bumped up a base score but so would starting order. It's true that Patrick Chan can fall and not be that damaged. Of course he was at the WTT. But that was way more about underrotated 4T fall and no 3A. So it was not about the falling but the rotating.
COP also is a system in which technically there is no symapthy for people. If you make a mistake or underotate than there can be no consistent winner. Kwan won so many times in a row and that is because she can do what she could do and always be placed first. If she was good she was first. Now you need to be on the watch for people with harder more point getting stuff. So US has had no consectutive champ since Kwan. That is something. For most of the time the same people won between olympics or were silver. Now it can be 1st 10th 3rd 14th 1st.
As I said in previous thread(s), the reason is complicated. Ratings for ALL sports (except the NFL) have gone down over the years. You're seeing coverage of even major sports now heading to cable & niche channels (as well as online). It's a MUCH different media world now than it was 10-15 years ago. I think skating is just now starting to figure out how to adapt to and survive in this new media world. It was only this year that ISU and USFS started becoming more active on social media, for example.This is not an ISU issue, it may be an USFSA issue - it's their job to promote their sport in their country - but to say the judging is the reason it's not on tv is not giving the issue the correct discussion. The IJS is not entirely why skating's tanked in the US. It was already losing a lot of focus by 2002.
NJS, the SLC scandal, media fragmentation, lack of a US star in ladies...all part of it.
I remember figure skating becoming very popular in the early 90's, before the T and N scandal. After that there were a lot of skating specials for a few years, but from say 2000 to maybe 2006 it was still fairly popular, and readily accessible on television.
When ABC dropped the figure skating contract is when things really went bad. All the ESPN coverage disappeared, beloved commentators Dick and Peggy were gone, it was harder and harder to find. . .it was getting better with Universal Sports, but now that that channel is gone, the sport is more or less done as a spectator sport on television.
There is a problem with the COP. However, seriously, if that were the judging system in the US in the 90's, does anyone think Michelle still wouldn't have won most of those years? That's not what's killing the US girls, it's their mediocrity and inconsistency.
The COP does take a few fun aspects out of watching it, however:
1. There's no drama about someone falling, as we've seen. Fall away, but if your edges are the best, you still win.
2. There's no drama in knowing which country gave which score
3. If you think someone should have won but didn't, it's like your fault because you haven't memorized a 200 page rule book. There's no fun in arguing that one person was beter than the next, because the person who disagrees with you measured the feet with a protractor and saw the angle of their edges, plus they analyzed the music and noticed that the winner was skating to a 4/4 count and not a 3/4 count--OK, I guess that's fun
4. There are serious complaints that the programs all look the same, and there is less creativity in a contest to rack up the points.
Universal Sports isn't gone, unless I missed something.it was getting better with Universal Sports, but now that that channel is gone, the sport is more or less done as a spectator sport on television.
I think (s)he means that Universal Sports' audience has shrunk significantly after they switched to niche cable channel only.
right....this.If you think someone should have won but didn't, it's like your fault because you haven't memorized a 200 page rule book. There's no fun in arguing that one person was beter than the next, because the person who disagrees with you measured the feet with a protractor and saw the angle of their edges,
In the US, I think the shrinkage of skating from TV began in 2004. This was the last year ABC televised Worlds in prime time, before it went to ESPN and all that. Coverage of most of the skating season was then on ESPN, with the exception of the pro-am Campbells/Marshalls events (remember those?), Skate America, and Nationals. Then, in 2007, ABC dropped US Nationals, leaving NBC to pick it up and killing the pro-ams in the process (they've since been replaced by Japanese ones). Then the following year, ESPN dropped the Grand Prix series, meaning that the only skating on TV here was Skate America & Nationals. Ice Network came about to pick up the slack, thankfully. During the 2009-10 Olympic season, NBC began airing most of the GP events including the final, and have continued to do so since. This year was the first network coverage of a foreign worlds, I think, since ABC in 2008.
So...I wouldn't say skating has totally disappeared from US TV. But, perhaps it's not being promoted well enough since there are so many complaints about it not being on.
On this topic, Disson Skating is reducing the number of skating specials on NBC down to 5 for next season (typically there are 9-10 events).
And what 5 events can keep any skater in enough money to excel? Pitiful!
I personally don't think that COP has anything to do with the popularity of the sport with the general public in Canada. Most members of the general public don't even know there is a new judging system. It's just skating to them. It's the fans that get themselves twisted in knots about it, generally either pining for the good old days with it's freedom, angst, and high drama, or touting the higher level of technical development and more transparent judging standards. I think the issue with the sport's popularity is really a combination of reasons, and I'm sure this is not a comprehensive list:
- many people don't understand the sport, and therefore don't consider it a sport. It's entertaining like a dance show, but it isn't a real sport. They have no clue what great athletes skaters really are.
- the SLC scandal confirmed for many the suspicion that competitions are about beauty contests, corruption, reputation, and are predetermined. With the beliefs confirmed, it really isn't a sport, and therefore many stopped paying attention altogether. They have no clue that there is a new judging system to remove most of the concerns. But if one reads these boards too much, and listens to some of the comments from long-time coaches and fans, one might get the impression that there is still much work to do to remove judging bias, reputation judging, and politicking. This sport will not survive another judging scandal, and any tweaks to the system must improve transparency, integrity, etc in the SPORT of skating.
- participation is down in general because skating is expensive, there are many other choices now, and why spend a lot of money on what is essentially a glorified beauty contest that can create other problems in some kids (ie. poor body image, eating disorders, etc.). For girls, hockey is very popular and it can be more fun because it provides a team environment instead of being an individual pursuit. For boys, the stereotypes that exist make it very hard for some dads to allow their boys to figure skate and ice dance, and boys who do often put up with a lot of abuse from their peers, sometimes just mental and emotional, but sometimes physical too. Role models like Scott Moir, Kurt Browning, Andrew Poje, Patrice Lauzon, Aaron Lowe and some of our really cool and fun pairs guys are all doing wonders to improve the situation. But let's not kid ourselves that boys in the sport are very few, and they often have to put up with a lot. I'm sad that Battle of the Blades was cut. It was doing great things to build bridges between hockey and figuring skating, and breaking down some wrong-headed attitudes. With participation down, fewer are paying attention, and the audiences are smaller.
- As others have noted, there is a lot more content for TV to compete with skating, and many sports really. I remember watching world cup skiing on Saturday afternoons before dinner when I was a teenager. It's pretty hard to find these days. Now, our friends in curling seem to be able to score hours and hours of coverage with TSN, but Canadian championships in skating can't even be properly televised once per year, and they mess with the integrity of the whole event with the crazy schedule. But perhaps that's also Skate Canada's responsibility. Combine general cynicism with lower participation rates and limited coverage on TV and in newspapers, the audience is shrinking.
- Stars on Ice and shows get some strong fan support, but with all of the above, and people running very busy lives, the audience is shrinking. When competitions are run in small population base areas, it can help promote the sport in the local area (the folks in Moncton were very helpful and nice) but this does not fill arenas or diminish the idea that the sport is declining in popularity as evidenced by empty seats. Add to this the fact prices to events are expensive in harder economic times, and less people will part with their dollars. Now, I am certain that London Worlds next year will be packed for at least pairs, dance and men's. But that has a lot to do with how close London is to the main training centers of many of the competitors, at least in dance and pairs, and the home clubs of many Canadian skaters. London is hometown for Tessa and Scott. The house will be packed. These kids, along with other local skating talent like Andrew and Kaitlyn, get very good coverage in the local media.
- I don't know about USFSA, but I do think Skate Canada needs a lot of help to build a brand and an image, which will help with sponsorship. Over the last couple of years, we have lost major sponsors, TV coverage is low, and membership is down. Yet we have some fabulous athletes who are at or near the top of the world. It should be a gold mine for them. We need some business experts at the top to complement our skating experts in order to completely overhaul the marketing, to secure sponsors, and to lobby government with other sports to update and improve the funding model so more kids can afford to stay in the sport. And a good marketing and education campaign can raise the profile of the sport, educate the public on the improvements that have been made to improve the integrity of the sport, and sponsorship can reduce the costs of big events so that there are more people in the seats. With better promotion of the current athletes, and not just at the top, more kids might be interested in staying in skating instead of finding other sports instead.
Well, I think you can acknowledge the difficulty and athleticism in many of the moves skaters do, and yet still not consider FS a sport altogether...- many people don't understand the sport, and therefore don't consider it a sport. It's entertaining like a dance show, but it isn't a real sport. They have no clue what great athletes skaters really are.
USFS is in the same boat, believe me. But it's interesting to hear the same thing is happening in Canada (reduced interest, etc.). I'd have thought Canadians would be all over it with the stars they have in Patrick Chan, Virtue/Moir & Joannie Rochette. At least USFS can say they don't have a female star, but even if we did get one it's not going to be the ultimate fix to our skating woes.I don't know about USFSA, but I do think Skate Canada needs a lot of help to build a brand and an image, which will help with sponsorship. Over the last couple of years, we have lost major sponsors, TV coverage is low, and membership is down. Yet we have some fabulous athletes who are at or near the top of the world. It should be a gold mine for them.
Last edited by Bluebonnet; 04-23-2012 at 08:48 AM.
We don't even need another Kwan; another Cohen would likely be good enough.