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Thread: Bloomburg Businessweek article: "Figure Skating FALL"

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    Bloomburg Businessweek article: "Figure Skating FALL"

    The decline in figure skating popularity has been discussed many times here. Now Busineesweek adds its view. The current issue of Businessweek has a fullpage article on the decline of figure skating in the US. It starts off noting the NBC nationals got a 0.7 rating in the 18-49 year old demographic, mentioning that some obscure show, 'Teen Mom 2,' gets a 1.7 rating in the same demo.

    The article documents the high point of interest, with the Harding/Kerrigan incidents and the years of Kwan. It contrasts those years with 2014. "But the American women headed to the 2014 Winter games in Sochi, Russia- a trio of blonds including Gold, Ashley Wagner, and Polina Edmunds-- have almost no name recognition at all." The article mentions Gold's and Wagner's sponsorships, but continues, "they're relatively small deals in the world of Lindsey Vonn . . . . Vonn was No. 8 in Harris interactive poll." "Julie Mancuso, Vonn's heir apparent, has already appeared on the cover of "Outside' magazine and has 51,000 followers on Twitter, Wagner and Gold are in the 20,000 range, and Edmunds has a mere 3,385 followers . . ."

    The article continues, "this is partly because the 'demure, pixie type' associated with the sport has fallen out of fashion. . . . The Harris poll also includes the Williams sisters and soccer players Hope Solo and Abby Wambach, all known more for their ouspokenness, aggression, speed and strength than their birdlike gracefulness."

    "Brands are looking for personalities that are goiong to break through. The poise that's synonomous with figure skating might be working against Gold and her fellow skaters in the bid for recognition" . . . "To some extent, the U. S. Figure Skating Association doesn't really understand that controversy is good for the sport." . . .

    The article continues that Gold has a lot of good features, very pretty, which could be a marketters dream, but "she's ranked ninth in the world right now."
    "If you chart the popularity of figure skating, its directly related to whether we have a female star." The article says Gold could take a clue from gymnast McKayla Maroney, known for the "not impressed face," who has 476,000 Twitter followers.

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    :) aftertherain's Avatar
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    Wow, finally an article that discusses other points rather other than "the change in scoring systems hurt the sport". Bravo.

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    I think it's pretty unfair to compare the 3 figure skating ladies and their marketing viability with women athletes that have already won Gold Medals and been on national and international spotlights for some years.

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    The most interesting thing is the comparison of the women in skating with the women in other sports and there's no comparison. Gymnastics used to but not longer puts any value in artistry. That leads to the point that the women have to project an image that they think will get them the most points from the judges in PCS and that goes completely against Serena Williams and Soccer players. An Irina Slutskaya type would fit with WIlliams and the soccer players but nothing is hated more in AMerican skating than Irina Slutskaya types!!!

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    Gotta Have Music iluvtodd's Avatar
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    Well, when network TV barely shows figure skating on TV (not to mention basically ignoring pairs & ice dance), how can you build a fan base for future stars? I miss the ABC/ESPN coverage. Not everyone is willing to pay extra for icenetwork (I've got it, but am so far behind in watching it - got a lot of catching up to do).

    BTW, I love the ladies, but I'd like to see the men get their due. I remember years of broadcasts when fs was pre-empted due to another sporting event running overtime. From a two hour broadcast, we saw just one hour. Who got pre-empted? The men, not the ladies.

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    Custom Title chapis's Avatar
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    Agree, figure skating would be very popular in US having world winners, I think figure skating is not very popular in Korea when Yuna is not competing. I hope Gracie works very hard and start to win gold medals so this will change. If people can tolerate to watch golf , I am sure they can tolerate to watch graceful people with music in their programs .

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    Quote Originally Posted by gmyers View Post
    The most interesting thing is the comparison of the women in skating with the women in other sports and there's no comparison. Gymnastics used to but not longer puts any value in artistry. That leads to the point that the women have to project an image that they think will get them the most points from the judges in PCS and that goes completely against Serena Williams and Soccer players. An Irina Slutskaya type would fit with WIlliams and the soccer players but nothing is hated more in AMerican skating than Irina Slutskaya types!!!
    A surya type would be better very athletic, very outspoken and her own style. Not just ànother princess.

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    Off the ice Buttercup's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noskates View Post
    I think it's pretty unfair to compare the 3 figure skating ladies and their marketing viability with women athletes that have already won Gold Medals and been on national and international spotlights for some years.
    I agree. I doubt Lindsey Vonn's marketing/financial success would compare as favorably with skating superstars such as Yuna Kim and Mao Asada. There are some other skaters who probably make a nice income, such as Carolina Kostner and Kiira Korpi (who have some big sponsors/endorsements).

    BTW, as far as I can tell Vonn is seventh in the Harris female sports star poll, behind Laila Ali and ahead of Hope Solo.

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    It is nice to see a magazine turn its attention to the sport of figure skating, and it addresses an important issue for the sport. I don't think much of its theory that people's association of the sport with the 'demure, pixie type' of its female skaters is a primary cause of its unpopularity. Although I do not profess to know for sure why figure skating has been so unpopular (I have a few theories . . . there are a whole bunch of factors that kind of came together like the perfect storm . . . not at all determinative of the matter but, just as an example, I think what happened at Salt Lake City is a bigger factor than the pixie features of its female skaters and more affected the consciousness of the public toward the sport . . . and that is not even starting on the antiquated federation system of running and controlling the sport) I would venture that neither the underlying premise (characteristics of the "ladies" skaters) nor the declared symptom (unpopularity) are key here. (Is it not more logical that the sport's unpopularity affects the ability of its skaters to become popular more than vice versa? Sure, it goes both ways, but the sport has to have a foundation first.) Perhaps the writer of the article has a personal issue with women who have demure pixie features and so he thinks the rest of the population does as well. (I don't so I can't relate.)

    It would be interesting to hear Bloomberg magazine's explanation of the video of Brown's performance at Nationals going viral. Perhaps the ponytail? My theory is that it was good skating done by a great skater and it is just fantastic to watch when it is done so beautifully.

    Popularity of sports can go in cycles. It has the potential to become popular again even with the pixies.

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    Other than very little coverage in real time of MAJOR events, you basically have to do something illegal or pay a lot of money to see any figure skating in the US. Every crappy College Lacrosse game I can see on ESPN; and back in the days of Michelle and Tara you could find the stuff in real time on ESPN; maybe you'd have to stay up until 2 am; but you could find it. Plus; there were comps and cheesefests aired on network TV constantly. It's a different world, and it stinks for a skating fan. How do they expect most people to know who any of these people are? And combined with the fact that we haven't had enduring " American stars" in quite a while, just makes it worse.

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    Celebrating the Excellence of #VirtueMoir golden411's Avatar
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    The link to the BloombergBusinessweek article:

    The dearth of TV coverage was/is a result -- not a cause -- of figure skating's reduced popularity.

    The potential to make money drives the programming on commercial TV networks. If the TV networks could make more money by showing more figure skating, they would.

    Quote Originally Posted by phaeljones View Post
    It would be interesting to hear Bloomberg magazine's explanation of the video of Brown's performance at Nationals going viral. Perhaps the ponytail? My theory is that it was good skating done by a great skater and it is just fantastic to watch when it is done so beautifully.

    Popularity of sports can go in cycles. It has the potential to become popular again even with the pixies.
    With all due respect to Jason Brown:
    "Good skating done by a great skater" cannot be the entire explanation for why his FS video went viral.
    It was a terrific performance, but Jason does not have a monopoly on good skating done by a great skater. And yet for some reason(s), it was his video that went viral.

    The vibrance of Jason's personality as he skated made a big difference.

    And I believe that his Riverdance theme helped.
    Not because Riverdance is universally beloved -- but because it is not. Jason's interpretation made people sit up and take notice because it made Riverdance enjoyable even to those who normally have an aversion to its music and style.

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    You mentioned 18-49 demographic. What was the ratings in 50+ demographics? I am sure by my observations that the main figure skating audience is in that range and I don't know why it was ignored. The world doesn't have to be entirely decided by youth. We have some numbers too.

    And isn't the same situation in tennis? Besides the Williams sisters who slowly start to decline BTW, there is literally noone in the US with even a slight chance of prospect for a slam winner. And somehow the sport stays strong in the US mainly driven by foreign stars.

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    right now I don´t have much problem with the popularity of the sport, this have advantages , when the events are in USA and Canadá the tickets are cheap in comparison with others sports, I could to do a effort and save to pay for worlds in figure skating but I could never afford a ticket to the final of soccer world cup it is much expensive, and figure skaters are more reachable because they are not super famous, they answer you in twitter, etc. In Japan and Korea people complain because they can´t get tickets even if they have much money to pay it, and a picture with their favorite skater is a dream because everyone want a photo or autpgraph. But do you think the popularity can decrese more???, it would be terrible

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    Maybe Ashley or Gracie should start dating someone famous like A-rod, George Zimmerman or become BFF with Jodi Arias. If that happens, everyone will know who Gracie or Ashley is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ks777 View Post
    Maybe Ashley or Gracie should start dating someone famous like A-rod, George Zimmerman or become BFF with Jodi Arias. If that happens, everyone will know who Gracie or Ashley is.
    Scraping the bottom of the barrel, are we? Are there no people they could date who are famous because they are good?

    Your suggestion gives me atavistic, archetypal shudders. It's like the Black Forest village that forces the beautiful maiden to marry the local ogre to save their own asses.

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