Here is an interesting article. Please comment!!
Skaters Facing Pay Cuts
Here is an interesting article. Please comment!!
Skaters Facing Pay Cuts
Great. Now we have to adjust the long program in US to maximize the TV viewing audience, never mind how the athletes might actually feel. Are they also going to put in a clause that Michelle Kwan can never retire since she's the biggest draw and that Sasha must add more of her amazing flexibility moves to improve ratings? Gee, I'm sure Jenny, Amber, Angela and Ann Patrice are thrilled to know that their performances were "meaningless."
Last edited by Yazmeen; 01-30-2004 at 10:16 AM.
I agree Yazmeen. This has been the problem with FS coverage IMO ... they treat it more as an entertainment event, rather than a sports competition. They have been adding more and more fluff pieces, and we see less skaters every year. Now this ... reorganizing things just to suit the TV networks. You don't see them screwing with the other sports this way!
Frankly, for me this year's GP was the last straw. Showing events weeks after they occured ... plus mixing the coverage of two different events the same weekend ... really pathetic as far as I am concerned.
I say, bring on the Ice Channel!!! I'd gladly pay extra for good coverage.
ITA!I say, bring on the Ice Channel!!! I'd gladly pay extra for good coverage.
Boy, I don't know what to think. Money talks. If the television networks can realize only $5 million dollars in advertizing revenue from ISU events, instead of $20 million, then something's gotta give.
Other sports do make changes all the time to make their product more marketable on television. They schedule "commercial" time outs while the games are in progress, they choose to show on TV the teams that they think most people want to see at the expense of other teams, they make the athletes and coaches interact with the media to promote the sport, they make rules changes to make the game more exciting to the fans (like changing the strike zone in baseball so there will be more home runs) -- lots and lots and lots of stuff.
I don't think we can say, hey, this is sports not entertainment. Sports is entertainment. I don't think that the skaters themselves would say, let's forget about making all this money and return to some imaginary time in the past when we were pure.
I also took note of Cinquanta's plan to allow the the speed skaters to vote on the CoP to insure that it will pass. Business as usual in any major corporate organization.
Actually, according to Mark Lund in his book Frozen Assets, Michelle Kwan does have a separate contract with ABC that says she can't retire and has to appear in all of the Campbell's-type contest for the next several years.
I'm having computer issues and can't access it. What's the gist of the story?
Interesting snippets for those not wanting to register to read the article (although it is free...):
The International Skating Union is close to signing a TV contract that will take international figure skating off over-the-air TV in the U.S. and force the ISU to make significant cuts in prize money
the multiyear contract would be with cable network ESPN for approximately $5 million annually. That is less than 25 percent of the $22 million the ISU currently receives from ABC...Also in the works: Giving ABC a long program final with the last six skaters competing in reverse order of their short program finish.InsecureEdgeSlick maneuver: Cinquanta has a plan to help him get approval of figure skating's new Code of Points scoring system in championships and the Olympics. Although judging issues normally are considered by only figure skating delegates, Cinquanta will argue that so much of the ISU's revenue comes from figure skating the entire organization should have a say in a reform designed to restore confidence in figure skating results.
Prize money for each GP even is $61K per event, which is not a lot of money in the big scheme of things, but the question is, where does the $22M in TV revenue go today? Obviously several million, presumably already paid, to develop CoP, and whatever it costs for the event venues (Jr. and Sr.), event advertising, some event operational costs, ISU executive travel expenses, record keeping, judge training and development, organizational overhead, legal fees. How much of speed skating does the figure skating TV revenue cover? How much goes into development programs, like the ISU-sponsored skater development program that crosses Scandinavia, the Baltics, and UK? I expect that the ISU already knew this was coming; they monitor attendance and viewing patterns. Another reason to push through the CoP before the money ran out!
If the prize money is cut, I wonder if this will affect who goes to GP events and how often they skate. If the incentive for a third event is to earn enough to pay for training, will they skate three events and spend the money to travel for themselves, coaches, and support teams? If not, maybe that's a good thing. It would spread the money out more, and to up local attendence and revenue, the host countries could be allowed to send one more participant. (None of which would make the broadcast, but it might get butts in chairs, especially if the participants were local.)
I doubt it. Suppose SA were held in Boston (Year, I know, funny notion, but still...). I would go to see my favorites skate, but I don't think I would go to see some skater just becasue he/she/they train in Mass.If not, maybe that's a good thing. It would spread the money out more, and to up local attendence and revenue, the host countries could be allowed to send one more participant. (None of which would make the broadcast, but it might get butts in chairs, especially if the participants were local.)
Mathman ... good points about changes made in other sports as well. Also ... I agree it is both sport and entertainment. I guess my biggest complaint about the coverage is that so little is ever shown live ... and that even when it is shown on tape, it's weeks (months) later. I have never seen this with other sports. Granted, because of time differences, some things are shown on tape delay ... but never weeks after they happened.
I've been saying this for years. Television is in the business of lmaking money any which way it can. Sponsors of TV showings are interested in the number of viewers who may buy their product. All State and Smart Ones have been the backbone of figure skating in the US. If they pull out, we're in trouble.
The once every four year competition will draw viewers, and for that one night only, there will be more sponsors. But those sponsors will drop out after the Olys.
Of course, a scandal will help.
I would have liked to read it but you have to register and I don't want them to have any way to harass me.
1. Clashing with football coverage (it's a man's world, still).
2. All the pro skaters, whom I like, have been skating since 1984-90's, and til 2004. If we get bored with Scott, Kat, Roz, Orser etc, imagine the casual viewers' thoughts. But they aren't injured, and do doubles, I'd say-the quality, the spins, edging are all there.That's why I will watch, wishing for others to show up, too
3. Eligible skating has ruined the stars of the 90's. Tara, Elvis, Yagudin and stars since 2000, like Timmy with bad injuries.
4. Michelle fills the ladies final at Nats but what does the casual viewer say? Oh Yes, Michelle again? or oh no, Michelle again and that's why Sasha, Jenny, whoever, can't become a star. Just have heard this.
5. We need a scandal as Joe says, and there are so many scandals kept quiet. Someone retired needs to write a tell all...what it is really like at this level of competition. Katia, Kat, Oksana B, Pasha Grishuk and so many more have interesting lives. A bestselling expose will get viewers. Yeah, it's not all "nice" but something has to save Figureskating for the masses. Cable is expensive. How much for the Ice Channel?
6. The USA pro favorite Kristy had a baby. We have Kwan, the Oly underdog, who many love, but she doesn't have the big prize that the casual viewers consider the medal one must have.
7. And there are many more ponderings. Todd Eldridge is good but no Oly medals. It's been a long time since Bri Boitano. Men's skating field is lackluster. Timmy may be done and he was maybe 4 years on the senior scene. In a quad world he had great luck in 2002. But then these last two seasons were not his best. People who watch casually need a while to get to know someone to become a fan and invest in watching a two hour comp. Many women watch and we don't hear women uniting for the type tv entertainment we like. All are too busy, too tired or dealing with bigger issues.
For casual viewers we need a truly georgeous skate Goddess from our country-a la Hamill and Fleming.With the gold, willing to stay 4 years more for a second Oly a la Witt. People still like to watch her.
We need more disney specials (michelle?) or those quality productions, esp for children. They become viewers-next generation.
GP season is too much for on top skaters. maybe 3 events and a final would seem more do-able for casual viewers to track and watch. the level of amateur skating must go up. Maybe learn school figures for beautiful basics and forget 2 3/3's quads or 3axels from women. Who cares if they are poor skaters? unnatractive, terrible line, poor presenters? We do, and so do casual viewers. What fun is a splatfest with half of all the skaters skating injured, withdrawing, etc.?
I think if Jenny, Mich or Sasha win Oly gold in 2006, there may be a renewal afoot. But USA casual watchers want an American Princess. We all like Irina or Fumie, but that won't excite the TV audience near as much.
Ideas off the cuff--you all have many more.
Maybe the big money of the 90's helped corrupt the sport. Maybe only those who love it truly and can afford it will skate. We had great skaters for decades who made very little $$.
And maybe Cinquanta and the ISU won't controll it all. Ice Channel is a reality. If we have another skating boom/scandalous skaters, many will turn it on and ABC will be back to get some of it. Everything changes except the power of money.
Bijoux - Your post was fascinating and I believe it to be your opinions on so many points which affect the status of figure skating today.
1. Clashing with football is a good point but you do not suggest a remedy for this clashing. I presume you would have the ISU check with the NFL in advance so that they can have the figure skating events on different nights.
One idea circulating the skating forums is that Figure skating is the most popular sport - Not So! Football in America will definitely top it; Hockey in Canada willl definitely top it; and Soccer (Fussbol) will topi it all over the world. Figure Skating does have a good night during the Olympics every four years.
2. Getting bored with some skaters is a natural feeling. You seem to be suggesting an automatic disappearance of some skaters after a certain period. Am I correct?
3, Was it eligihble skating that ruined what you call 'stars' or was it fans on forums demanding more from them? He raised the bar; he can't win without a quad; etc. Figure skating can be a dangerous sport and the skater is left to understand his limitations. What he decides is his business.
As for "Pro" competitions, in my opinion, it is just another form of 'Show" skating. I am not alone in that opinion.
4. How many casual viewers have you spoken to? MK filled the arena because she is a very popular skater same as if I would run to see a Meryl Streep movie. I think Sasha and Jenny have a huge fan base and I think they helped to fill the arena that night. Again, you seem to be putting limited duration on figure skaters.
5. People love scandals.
6. Sarah Hughes has the BIG prize. No problem. If you believe that 2 strikes and your out, will that apply to all skaters or just MK?
7. Timmy is having only one poor season after the 2002 Worlds. There has been much discussion on the problem. Todd and Brian B are pro skaters. That facit of sport has never really been built up, imo, to make it interesting. Too many silly props. The competition is basically about who is the most outlandish?
The rest of your opinions are well taken. and much of those are worthy of topics for discussion on the forum. You defintely care about the sport of figure skating, and that is what will keep the sport on the networks, hopefully.
Cheers - Joe
Slightly OT, but with regard to term limits and turnover in popularity, I think that skating has no one to blame but itself. I can think of no other sports, with perhaps the exception of gymnastics (which I don't follow closely) that has built itself so strongly around a 4 year cycle. The whole idea that a skater peaks, reighs supreme for 4 years and then gracefully bows out to let the youngers have thier day in the sun comes straight form the skating world, and was drilled into the minds of fans for decades. Now that the ISU has decided to run pro skating out of town, the fans are suppose to adapt to the new system like the flip of a switch after a lifetime of conditioning? It's unrealistic and I think unfair to blame market fatique on the fans, especially with a product that changes so little over the years. Kwan takes most of the heat because she dominates the sport, but let's face it, what skater is always coming up with new and different routines? None.
I also think that skating is experiancing the down side of oversaturation of the market. It's like the Planet Hollywoood of sports. After Tonya/Nancy, one couldn't turn on the TV without some skating show being shown somewhere. What goes up, must come down.
Skating used to be the star of "neglected sports", hence being the darling of "Wide World of Sports": the show for ugly step sister sports everywhere. Other than it's 15 minutes of fame between 94 and 98, skating will never be as popular as the holy trinity ( football, basketball and baseball ) and other sports like Hockey and Tennis because it's not accesable. It's not something one can do easily in gym class or in the street on a summer evening and it's rules are so archane, one needs to take a friggin school course just to understand what's going on. Yes, I know that COP is the darling of skating nerds on the web world wide, but mark my words, it's clutter of meaningless marks all over the TV screen is going to alinate so many casual or would-be fans, that the sport is going to hemerage fans like a war torn nation.