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.