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Thread: State of American Ladies: 2012-13 Season

  1. #196
    Banned janetfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebonnet View Post
    Gee, I thought you knew how to promoting and marketing. In this case, who prevented you to say the similar things you've said the above?
    I was showing the difference between what a promo might sound like as opposed to something more truthful.

    BTW, I decided Scott should narrate ....just for you

  2. #197
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    BTW, I decided Scott should narrate ....just for you
    No, thanks! I prefer Kurt Browning.

  3. #198
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebonnet View Post
    And then the viewers in front of the TV said, "Who cares?! Let's change the channel to football. It's 'Sunday night, the football night.'"
    good point, I wouldn't be watching DWTS - I didn't when Kristi or Evan were on every week... so I'm still not seeing the benefit of it for ABC...

  4. #199
    I got your program components right here. Pepe Nero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Skate America has more TV coverage and to always have Rachael and never Mirai seems to show favoritism.
    This is about the last 5 years. Rachael has been to SA 4 of the last 5 years. Mirai just once.

    The politcally based arguments by mskater and mathman don't impress me even if they make sense in the inward looking world of skating
    I think all of us making points in this debate are making politically-based arguments. And that's fine - it's a political issue. I think those who have given facially apolitical rationales for the fact that Flatt has been given more assignments to SA than Nagasu are right. I think those who say that indirect forms of racism might be involved in the decision might be right as well. (I don't mean to attribute views to anyone specifically, BTW.)

    These explanations are not mutually exclusive! The exclusion of Nagasu (who does not look "American enough" from the perspective of the USFSA to represent the USA at Skate America) is overdetermined.

    More broadly, it is my view that it is darn implausible to say issues related race never at least subconsciously make their way into USFSA decisions. (I'm thinking of debates we had here early this year about Dornbush being assigned to 4CC over Mahbanoozadeh.)

    ETA: Pre-emptorily, denying that there are political issues in figure skating, or that figure skating is not the place to discuss politics, is itself to articulate a political position. My panties are not in a wad.
    Last edited by Pepe Nero; 10-05-2012 at 01:53 AM.

  5. #200
    I got your program components right here. Pepe Nero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nigel View Post
    I think some of what is being missed is how USFS approaches marketing their athletes.

    I would propose that there are two mindsets at USFS or areas of focus

    1.....a group that is actually concerned about the sport itself and how the athlete competes..do they achieve their goals, do they make the podium, what does the athlete and their team need to do to achieve a spot on the podium.
    and
    2. Then there is the other side of USFS...the marketing group, whose focus SHOULD be...how do we promote the sport of figure skating and the athletes/personalities that are currently competing for USFS. How do we market each discipline? Do we go after a broad audience...just because it is figure skating...or do we try to define the demographic ...and market each discipline...singles, pairs, dance, synchro, adult, LTS....or divide and conquer....the athleticism and the artistry. I think USFS does struggle to define what the sport's niche is and what it COULD be. They have so narrowly defined themselves over the past years, relying on one face/star to be the force behind their marketing strategy (Kwan, and for a very brief period, Meissner and Lysacek)...that they got lazy, and fell way behind the times.

    So, instead of being pro-active, they are reactive....and just basically fail to plan (and therefore, plan to fail) an initiative. Take for example...the ShibSibs vids....very creative, and it lets us, the consumer, see a side of the athletes that USFS is unable to promote, for whatever reason.

    So, collectively, could USFS come up with a business/marketing plan? Yes. Is it likely that they will do it, probably not. Could they hold a round table discussion with the marketing groups/agents/promoters of the athletes and brain storm for new ways to help build their audience? Yes, but is it going to happen, not likely.

    So, USFS (and quite frankly, the ISU)...will just rely on the Olympic four year cycle to promote the sport.
    I see your point, Nigel, but I worry that what will promote the popularity of the sport (i.e., what will generate profit) is contrary to athletic excellence, "artistic" value (insofar as figure skating can be considered artistic -- whatever its aesthetic value is), and fundamental fairness.

    For example, I keep wondering why so many think Gracie Gold is the next huge thing. It doesn't seem to be based on competition results, this year or last. I keep wondering to myself: what does Gracie Gold have that didn't cause this kind of excitement in all of the other post-Sasha contenders? Why is she the IT girl? I am not disparaging GG; just wondering why, based on what we know so far, anyone thinks she will amount to more than Alissa Czisny, Caroline Zhang, Rachael Flatt, Mirai Nagasu, Ashley Wagner, Agnes Zawadzki, or Christina Gao (and, oh yeah, Kimmie Meissner). It may be desperate optimism, but I think there is more to it. I think Gold shares features with Flatt (but to a greater extent) that make her profitable as a USFSA "star."

    Anyway...just raising the question of whether USFSA (or anyone) can promote the popularity of figure skating and the "goodness" of figure skating at the same time. I think the latter is more important, insofar as the sport remains sustainable.
    Last edited by Pepe Nero; 10-05-2012 at 02:54 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pepe Nero View Post
    For example, I keep wondering why so many think Gracie Gold is the next huge thing. It doesn't seem to be based on competition results, this year or last. I keep wondering to myself: what does Gracie Gold have that didn't cause this kind of excitement in all of the other post-Sasha contenders? Why is she the IT girl?
    Gracie has shown the ability to land triple Lutz/triple toe and triple flip/triple toe combinations with some consistency. I think the excitement around her boils down to that. Most of the other post-Sasha contenders have either never landed those combos in competition or have not landed them consistently or correctly. I think that's the difference. In the wake of Yu-Na Kim's World and Olympic victories, won in large part due to the consistency of her triple Lutz/triple toe, everyone knows how important those combinations are.

  7. #202
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pepe Nero View Post
    For example, I keep wondering why so many think Gracie Gold is the next huge thing. It doesn't seem to be based on competition results, this year or last. I keep wondering to myself: what does Gracie Gold have that didn't cause this kind of excitement in all of the other post-Sasha contenders? Why is she the IT girl? I am not disparaging GG; just wondering why, based on what we know so far, anyone thinks she will amount to more than Alissa Czisny, Caroline Zhang, Rachael Flatt, Mirai Nagasu, Ashley Wagner, Agnes Zawadzki, or Christina Gao (and, oh yeah, Kimmie Meissner). It may be desperate optimism, but I think there is more to it. I think Gold shares features with Flatt (but to a greater extent) that make her profitable as a USFSA "star."
    In my mind, Gold demonstrates strong work ethic and awareness. The way she handled herself after missing Nationals two seasons ago was quite remarkable. She took a reading of her circumstances and worked to improve them. More generally, she has a skill set of jumps that none of the ladies you mention really have. It's notable

    Anyway...just raising the question of whether USFSA (or anyone) can promote the popularity of figure skating and the "goodness" of figure skating at the same time. I think the latter is more important, insofar as the sport remains sustainable.
    Absolutely, they can. In the past, the sport was sold as a melodrama. There were media studies that examined that exact same thing - selling the more pageant like aspects of the entertainment. I think a determined effort could be made my the sporting consortiums (this includes the media, to be honest). It won't be as popular as before - but it can be successful and more popular than it currently is.

  8. #203
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonichelle View Post
    good point, I wouldn't be watching DWTS - I didn't when Kristi or Evan were on every week... so I'm still not seeing the benefit of it for ABC...
    That's fine. The idea of marketing is to consider the tastes and trends of a a targeted market segment and not your own personal tastes.

    It's not about "me, me, me" but more like "them, them, them."

    BTW, DWTS has it's own thread at GS so there is obvioulsy a strong crossover appeal between dancing and skating.
    DWTS has also had a few skaters on the show and hasn't Mark Ballas done some skating choreo? For Evan maybe - or SOI?

    Is it too much to think many of the folks who watch DWTS might have some interest in skating - and more specifically Ice dancing?

    As to "what's in it for ABC" I would say that is a false premise. They look at things on a show by basis as well as the big picture. To assume a D/W segment would not be a good addition to one of the weekly shows could be researched but I think most data would show a very positive appeal.

    Earlier you brought up ABC would not want to help NBC. I think that is not quite applicable here.

    Over the years thousands of TV stars and personalities have appeared on rival networks. ABC star Regis Phibin was a constant guest on the CBS Letterman show over the years. I recall an ABC/ESPN analyst named Dick Button appearing on NBC Olympic broadcasts in the past.

    What was in it for ABC? If nothing else a future favor. Think of networks like skating federations - and then think of all the dealing that goes on.

    BTW, is it so hard for you to imagine that in the future D/W might do some work for Disney? Maybe appear in an ice show or whatever? If D/W win in Sochi they will have many opportunities to consider.

    I mentioned Gabby and the girls appeared on Letterman which is not an NBC show.
    To ask "what was in it for NBC" is really not an issue.
    Last edited by janetfan; 10-05-2012 at 09:05 AM.

  9. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    I think it's great for all concerned -- the skaters, the sponsors of NHK, and the sport of figure skating in general. I might even watch it on whatever Internet coverage is available. (I don't think I'll be watching Skate America.)

    Edited to add: No wait, I take it back. In the SA men's division top U.S. guys Abbott and Lysacek are going against a great international field including Hanyu, Kozuka, Verner and Brezina.

    Then I'll switch over to dance and see what Weaver and Poje and Tobias and Stagniuas have come up with this year.
    Math, you are not a casual fan of figure skating. I'm not either. No one who posts on a figure skating board is a casual fan, I think. Besides, Takahashi and Hanyu are mega stars already. NHK is not trying to make a star who was not a star already when they put several of their top guns in the event.

    I'm very interested in watching Skate America this time, more than usual, because Jeremy Abbott will be there the first time ever at SA. I will be very interested in it with or without Evan Lysacek's appearence. Maybe somebodies love to follow Lysacek. So Lysacek's appearence in SA is important to bring their attention. Maybe somebodies love to follow the reigning Nationals ladies Champion Ashley Wagner. So Wagner's appearence in SA is important to them. But these skaters have to become a star before they can attract more fans. How to become a star? Winning! Win more! Win big! Win on the international stage.

  10. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post

    First - where is the "hype" you are talking about?
    Forget skating boards. I'm talking about USFS promotion/exposure, features in print media, etc. There are skaters (like those named earlier) who get significantly more attention than would be normal based on their actual accomplishments.



    Second - the lack of promotion is killing skating. IMO there is nowhere near enough promotion of skating in USA...

    Now this I can agree with.

    But...I don't think the answer is to "put all your eggs in the Skater X basket, hoping she'll turn out to be a star". Sometimes I feel USFS does just this, and it often backfires.

    Instead...you have to look at who you already have...who is currently doing well and who has a solid fan base, and find a way to promote them. More should be done on the grassroots level, to encourage young kids to try it. More should be done, perhaps, to help those who have the talent and drive, but are struggling financially to make it work.
    Last edited by R.D.; 10-05-2012 at 09:09 AM.

  11. #206
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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    I was showing the difference between what a promo might sound like as opposed to something more truthful.
    No, no one uses words that would actively and intentionally push the listeners and viewers away in promo no matter what, whether she was just a 2010 Nationals champion but no other big accomplishment or she was a reigning Nationals champion. The promoters will find as much as possible the good words for their attendents. Your example is just the one you made up. It can never happen in the real world under any situation.

  12. #207
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.D. View Post
    Forget skating boards. I'm talking about USFS promotion/exposure, features in print media, etc. There are skaters (like those named earlier) who get significantly more attention than would be normal based on their actual accomplishments

    But...I don't think the answer is to "put all your eggs in the Skater X basket, hoping she'll turn out to be a star". Sometimes I feel USFS does just this, and it often backfires.

    Instead...you have to look at who you already have...who is currently doing well and who has a solid fan base, and find a way to promote them. More should be done on the grassroots level, to encourage young kids to try it. More should be done, perhaps, to help those who have the talent and drive, but are struggling financially to make it work.
    I agree with what you wrote here and your points are good and also fair.

    Remember this:

    http://images.search.yahoo.com/image...mb=XhmOUcq0q2y

    Did this hurt Sarah in SLC? How many think Sarah's thoughts as she took the ice in SLC were "I hope I can live up to the hype" ?

    Obviously she was very focused the night of the LP.

    What about Kwan? Was it hype and high expectations that were repsonsible for her not winning in SLC?

    Perhaps -but there were undoubtably some major internal issues surrounding Michelle that were in play at SLC.

    Was Michelle on the cover of Sports Illustrated's special Olympic Issue and did this cause her to lose in SLC?

    I don't know the answers but feel sure she was beaten that night by Sarah's "skate of a lifetime" performance.

    For any athlete to be successful they must learn to deal with pressure. We hear "no guts, no glory" alot and I could add to this "no hype, who would care."

    Skating like any sport needs promotion and yes, some hyping of skaters to help create the stars every sport needs to keep it in the spotlight.

    I mentioned Gracie should be at SA this season and offered reasons why.

    Is this putting undue pressure on a skater?
    Gracie will have to skate at Natls - an event with much more pressure than SA.

    Why is one event OK - but not the other

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pepe Nero View Post
    I think those who say that indirect forms of racism might be involved in the decision might be right as well. (I don't mean to attribute views to anyone specifically, BTW.)
    I think introducing race and racism in this case is quite a lengthy stretch. No, I don't think it is involved.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pepe Nero View Post
    I keep wondering why so many think Gracie Gold is the next huge thing. It doesn't seem to be based on competition results, this year or last. I keep wondering to myself: what does Gracie Gold have that didn't cause this kind of excitement in all of the other post-Sasha contenders? Why is she the IT girl? I am not disparaging GG; just wondering why, based on what we know so far, anyone thinks she will amount to more than Alissa Czisny, Caroline Zhang, Rachael Flatt, Mirai Nagasu, Ashley Wagner, Agnes Zawadzki, or Christina Gao (and, oh yeah, Kimmie Meissner). It may be desperate optimism, but I think there is more to it. I think Gold shares features with Flatt (but to a greater extent) that make her profitable as a USFSA "star."
    Because, like USFSA, the skating fans are desperate in finding a future US star, too.


    ETA:

    By the way, I've gotten these from a friend. It's interesting to know. So I've copied them here just FYI:


    An article from a marketing journal - Scarborough Sports Marketing defines "Avid Fans" as consumers who are "very interested" and "Fans" as respondents who are "very, somewhat or a little interested" in a given sport.

    Scarborough Sports Marketing further noted that American sports fans have been opening their minds and wallets to a host of diverse sports. Avid Fans of these sports are often characterized by distinct audience demographics. For instance, 73 percent of Avid Gymnastics Fans are female and 81 percent of Avid Figure Skating Fans are female. This is a unique demographic makeup since Avid Fans of sports like the Olympics, Women's Tennis and the WNBA classically "female friendly" sports are only about 50 percent female. This notable demographic base helps explain findings such as: Gymnastics Fans are 53 percent more likely than all American adults to schedule a spa day, 30 percent more likely to visit a jewelry store and 33 percent more likely to visit a bridal store. Similarly, Figure Skating Fans are 28 percent more likely to visit a florist and 27 percent more likely to visit a dry cleaner.
    Physics/Biomechanics - Television can't give you the sense of speed-or danger-that is apparent here. Nor can it give you a sense of how difficult it is to break into the top ranks. (Television does well in the drama department, however: Its coverage of the Nancy KerriganTonya Harding scandal back in 1994 is widely credited with raising Americans' interest in figure skating.)
    Last edited by Bluebonnet; 10-05-2012 at 10:45 AM.

  14. #209
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    Reading through the last few posts made me wonder about the following:

    Who is more "desperate" for a US Lady skating star?

    Is it US Skating?

    or is it US skating fans?

    I am not sure ........

    and wonder if it is really same question

    If a star were to appear on the scene would it change much?
    Last edited by janetfan; 10-05-2012 at 11:17 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by janetfan View Post
    Without knowing anything about their budget and operating expenses it is not possible to answer your question.
    In a general sense if they don't have the money then they would need to find/raise it.

    Where there is a will there is a way. Also not every idea has to necessarily cost alot of money.

    For instance why couldn't D/W appear on DWTS on the Tuesday results show which features different guest dancers and performers.

    Maybe they could dance (no skates) or maybe use that new artificial surface for a routine or better yet a taped routine done on ice to be introduced by them on the show?

    Whatever - I bet the DWTS audience - Live and TV would like to see them and knwo more about them.
    Is that a bad idea? Then different ideas need to be explored.


    I get confused by all this "pressure" being put on skaters. Exactly what pressure do you mean? Is it the pressure of expectation?
    There has to be that and if the skater doesn't have it they most likeley won't get very far.

    Do you mean skating board expectations? Yikes, I hope that is not it

    Do you mean pushy parents or overbearing coaches?

    Is NBC who you mean. Like how dare they plug a new skater and put pressure on her?

    Is it US Skating officials? Maybe if they gave Gracie SA at 17 it would be too much pressure? Geez lots and lots of US skaters competed at SA before they were 17.

    Why would anybody hope to be a champion skater and never expect any pressure?

    Pressure is necessary.......and part of any competitive sport.

    A poster recently said in jest, maybe Marta Karolyi should pick the team

    Maybe hat's not such a bad idea ...... let these skaters find out what a really tough camp is all about- and where nothing less than winning is the expectation.
    ABC would most likely find that featuring Davis and White in order to promote Skate America, which is being broadcast by NBC to be a conflict of interests. The idea that anyone would be paid to appear on a network to promote an event another network has rights to seems very unlikely.

    The comparison to the Fierce Five doesn't work, because the Fierce Five became an asset to any show by winning the Olympics and becoming famous. If Davis and White win the Olympics, then they will be more likely to appear on all sorts of shows across networks. They'll be more likely to be invited on these shows even before the Olympics in Sochi, I imagine, during the pre-Olympic hype. That, however, is two years away. Also, it probably won't have a lot to do with the USFSA asking for them to be included- rather, it would be initiated by the producers of the shows. Any time the USFSA is asking if their skaters can appear on a show they can expect to pay for that right unless they are negotiating a broadcast deal, and NBC already has those rights. There may also be a conflict between NBC's deal with the USFSA and the ability to ask other networks to promote their skaters.

    As for the pressure, I totally agree that skaters will have to deal with pressure to get anywhere in the sport. Hyping somebody up as being the person who will probably beat the national champion is a bit far, though. It puts a very specific expectation on a skater that could be a blow to their psyche should they fail to accomplish as much. It's also very unfair to the national champion who, by virtue of winning, has earned the right to be heralded as the current best the US has to offer. Billing Gracie as the best (and saying that she'll become better than the national champion is doing so) is probably confusing to many fans who might want to cheer for the skater who was ready to earn the title- a title that some seem to want to hand to Gracie with no results. Also, as I already mentioned, sending two of your best skaters to the same event makes it less likely that both will qualify for the final. That would also be unfair to one of the skaters. They'll face off at nationals, and if they both have good Grand Prixs, then that can build more hype for Nationals, which is the bigger event. If they don't, then the USFSA can find another aspect to hype without having blown their marketing plan with one event.

    I do agree that skating needs more exposure in general, but I think that it's 1)harder than we think and 2)needs to be the right type of exposure. In 2006 I thought prospects were bright for the future of figure skating with skating movies coming out and the Ice Diaries and Skating with Celebrities shows. Somehow the general public seems to have a reduced opinion of skating after all that, though. Maybe the Disney version of skating (you can learn to do a triple in a year!?!!!!) didn't sell? Maybe the pageant-like aspects of the sport have turned some people off? Or maybe the USFSA entered into a really bad broadcasting agreement with NBC that truly fails to promote the sport because the sport is almost never on channels that everyone actually gets and includes broadcasters who (even though they might be right) denegrate the code of points every chance they get (this is my vote for what went wrong). There needs to be adequate coverage of the actual sport, and various facts about the athleticism and skills required need to be explained every time it's on the air.

    I also think that the quality of professional skating that is shown has gone way down, and that has also affected the ratings. It's hard for me to watch certain skaters who are way past their prime and clearly don't train all that much on shows like the Halloween On Ice show doing the same watered down tricks and choreography over and over again. Some of the professional skaters are lovely, and some of the newer ones are bringing new life to the choreography, but we don't see enough of them on t.v., and we see too many of the others who are there just for their name. We need more skaters like Kurt Browning, Stephane Lambiel, Joannie Rochet, Jeffery Buttle, Katia Gordeeva, and the like to be shown, and less of those who phone their show programs in.

    I would love to see skating featured in programs like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade again (way more interesting than a dog show, though I have nothing against dog shows). I think ABC has the right to that programming, though, so it would have to be a group other than the USFSA that would coordinate that type of thing. It would be wonderful if a John Curry style special from the Rockefeller tree lighting could be shown (again, ABC territory). All of this costs money and takes organization, though, and would be out of the hands of the USFSA.

    Maybe the USFSA could convince NBC to air a pro-am competition to include athletes of a high caliber during Christmas season in a future year? That way they'd be organizing the competition and could invite those who'd best represent the sport? Again, though, that costs $$$. NBC would have to be willing to pay for it.

    Maybe the best route is to try to get more youngsters interested in the sport- perhaps the USFSA should put their money towards a day of free skating lessons in member rinks across the country, and advertise this heavily. The difficulty here is that skating is a sport with a steep learning curve, so they'd have to work hard to find ways to make doing the most basic things a lot of fun.

    I'm just rambling and throwing out random ideas now. The point is that it is a lot more difficult to drum up popularity than many of us think, and the USFSA has a tall order ahead of them.

    Maybe the best way to promote skating is for each of us to take a friend to a show, and then to take a few friends skating, and then maybe take our neighbors' and relatives' kids skating. Maybe relying on the governing bodies to fix everything isn't the answer? Or perhaps the USFSA needs to find ways to get more people involved in promoting the sport- offering a second set of tickets at a discounted price to people who buy the expensive seats so that they can bring a friend? Or maybe just trying to get member clubs to go out into the community to promote certain events?

    Edit to add- I think the USFSA could use social media a lot more, as well. Clearly they are trying to do this with Twitter, but I think they should consider YouTube and Pinterest as really good ways to promote skating, as well. Making a highlight reel of great jumps and artistic skills might play well. A fun video of a jump-off filmed during Champs Camp might get viewers. They could really use the athletes' personalities to advantage here. Maybe a footwork challenge between some of the singles skaters and ice dancers? Shibutani vs. Weir vs. White vs. Lysacek? Make a pinterest and post some of the nicest pictures of USFSA stars? All of that could be done for less expense.
    Last edited by MoonlightSkater; 10-05-2012 at 11:40 AM.

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