Unless the reason the US doesn't have a star is because of COP. COP makes it hard for skaters to be consistent winners. And winning one National championship (or even two) is not enough for a US skater to get noticed. Ask Alyssa Czisny, who got no media recognition at all for her wins. For years, Michelle Kwan never finished lower than second at any event (and never lower than first at Nationals). That made the sport worth watching for American viewers because she was always in the hunt and put down good skates even when she lost. I'm not sure even Michelle could have overcome the demands of the current judging system, where every move is scrutinized and penalized if not within the (sometimes arbitrary) guidelines. While she probably could have adapted, I don't think she could have lasted at or near the top for 10 years like she did. Even the best COP skater, Yu Na Kim, doesn't have the record one might have expected, with only two World titles. So I'm not willing to let the current judging system off the hook so easily. I would say that, in many cases, the whole is less than the sum of its parts under the IJS. There was something to be said for judges using an "I know it when I see it" approach to judging, at least on the second mark.
Originally Posted by RABID
Thanks, I know what a bank is, but I've not a clue about the other brands or their products. OK, sorry, I know this thread is for US figure skating fans
Originally Posted by jimini
Prudential is an insurance company, Smuckers makes jams and jellies and is a long-time sponsor of figure skating shows, Covergirl sells cosmetics, AT&T is the telephone company, Procter and Gamble makes toothpaste and soap. A pixie is a cute, petite magical fairy.
Originally Posted by snowflake
ISU didn't try stretching worldwide popularity of Figure skating. (in 3rd world)
Of course, the core of winter sports is moving to extreme sports currently.
But I still believe that there are a lot of potential Fans of Figure skate.
Icerinks can be anywhere(even equatorial countries), but slopes not.
Just lack of efforts.
Missing Tdizzle and SDiggity
Agree that marketers always are on the lookout for a fresh face and personality like Jason Brown.
Originally Posted by noidont
(I would love to know what the minute-by-minute ratings were for his FS. Many on social media were going crazy for him in real time, and I wonder whether the ratings spiked before Dornbush took the ice.)
But a lot of sponsors already have placed their bets on Davis/White, Wagner, and Gold. Their existing sponsors will ramp up the visibility of D/W a.s.a.p. if/when they earn a medal in Sochi; same for each lady if she is lucky enough to earn a medal.
Am wondering what the following sentence means: "Davis and White should take a clue from McKayla Maroney."
I'm a fan of Maroney. Love her vaulting and her personality.
Sometimes circumstances dictate that D/W should speak cautiously. But they already have very marketable personalities.
Great points in this thread by everyone.
Originally Posted by golden411
Jason Brown is unique. Taking an educated guess, he wears a ponytail not to be different but to be himself and he isn't afraid of being himself. But he is also distinctive and different. He doesn't seem to do anything cautiously but rather he seems to do everything assuredly. That is pretty unique not just with any athlete but any person. WYSIWYG. Remember when he skated at Skate America and there were not a small number of comments on this site that he should lose his ponytail and fix up his appearance? Anyone doubt that he hasn't been getting those comments for years and years, and that someone hasn't told him that it might affect his endorsements if he ever got big? I don't mean to take anything away from D/W because they are awesome but my impression is that their image is somewhat filtered so I too filter anything they say (and that takes effort so I really don't pay too much attention to anything they say or endorse). I don't get that sense with Brown and that puts him, to me, in a special category. I don't have to filter him and he has many likeable qualities.
D/W are very recognizable because of their wins, so I will note them if they show up on a commercial as being associated with a product, and the product will therefore get recognition with me. But to me are not relatable like Brown and so an endorsement by Brown would make me think more deeply about the qualities of the product, more than just the name recognition.
Bottom line, and my point, is that although Brown must continue to develop (and eventually to rack up wins), he could be a godsend to the sport and a repudiation of many of the article's points.
Or am I wrong and the writer correct in inferring that popularity has to come from the female side of the sport (which is impossible because of its pixie-ness)?
I do think that the writer has a point about changing tastes in entertainment in America. Back in the day, figure skating had a certain beauty pageant vibe to it, especially professional skating in ice shows. People are not so much into that kind of entertainment any more. As pure sport, there is a lot of competition for the viewers' attention.
Great point. Well stated and, I think, accurate.
Originally Posted by Mathman
It will be interesting to see then how the popularity of Brown plays out because (and this is only my opinion) I don't think he has any of that "beauty pageant vibe". Only the passage of time will reveal the future, but I am curious to see whether the sport can pick up in America on the basis of other factors.
Very interesting point of view Phaeljones and I generally seem to find myself agreeing with you. From what I've read recently, Jason has a very strong support system in his coach and his family. I don't know that finances are or are not an issue but Jason seems very well-grounded, was happy he went to public school because it was a respite from training and being so intense, and still has alot of friends "back home" that he keeps in touch with. I, too, get the feeling that he isn't too interested in changing. He did an interview talking about what he has to do with his hair to get it into that ponytail. Apparently his hair is uber curly and difficult to deal with. I think that's why a ponytail makes sense to him. What I wonder now is what his progression will be in the next skating season. Kori has moved him along somewhat slowly and carefully - putting as much focus on his presentation as his jumps and spins. Even if he doesn't manage a top 10 finish at the OLYs, and even if he bombs, there will be great expectations on him next year with Jeremy retiring. I hope all of this attention doesn't change him and he's able to be himself on his terms.
I HOPE the future of figure skating doesn't rest on the women's side of it. I think we've moved past the "baby ballerina" era and hopefully are moving toward the athletic but still graceful era. I honestly think it could be someone like Jason, assuming he totes up some big wins, that could bring back the entertainment factor in figure skating to the non-figure skating fan.
P&G owns Covergirl. They make make-up (Cover Girl and others), skin care products (Olay), toilet paper (Charmin), paper towels (Bounty), pet food (Iams, Eukanuba and others), diapers and related supplies (Pampers), laundry products (Tide & Bounce), batteries (Duracell), razors (can't remember which brand), air freshener products (Febreze), vitamins (Nature's something--a recent acquisition), cold medicines (I think Vicks but not sure), toothpaste and related products (Crest), toothbrushes (Oral B), some luxury cologne/perfume brands, and much more.
Originally Posted by Mathman
Husband works for a P&G company and we get free products twice a year. Christmas included a cool Olympic themed fleece throw and Olympic themed coffee mugs. I was psyched. Husband did not care, lol!
Don`t be fooled. Jason Brown, Davis and White, Wagner, gold while marektable in their own right are far far bewlow of yester year skating stars as to marketability. To us uber fans we know Jason but he still is a reltive u nknown regardless of youtube. If he medals at the olympics then his stock will rise considerably but I am not sure he is marketable in the states. Male skaters aren`t that marektable unless with a female partner like danc eor pairs. They better have a huge title and wonderful personality. I don`t think Evan did as well as some think sure he had some endorsements and opportunities but sadly skating isn`t the draw it used to be and there is still homophobia out there whether a skater is straight or gay. We haven`t been emancipated as much as we hoped - yet
I mentioned this in some other thread, but what struck me was how quickly Jason has adopted to dealing with the media in such a short time. I've heard him do interviews with everyone from renowned public radio interviewers (WBUR's Tom Ashbrook on "On Point") to local television/radio affiliates who have no knowledge or understanding about skating (WGN in Chicago) and he's been able to be articulate yet authentic to each one of them.
Originally Posted by phaeljones
What's interesting is once you get past Jason's "OMG" reaction regarding going to the Olympics/having a viral FS video on YouTube/sudden fame, it's clear that he can answer the questions that's straight forward and to the point.
Here's are two examples:
Arsenio Hall: "So you had to wait after you skated to find out you made the Olympic team?"
Jason: "There's a criteria that goes into it and it's not just the top two that make it."
Tom Ashbrook: "Do you think about the political issues at all in Russia? The crackdown on what they call "gay propaganda" there and all the rest? Is that on your mind as you training."
Jason: "... I definitely don't completely agree with [the Russian political situation], but I’m really trying to focus on my training everyday and doing what I do everyday and trying to represent my country the best that I can.”
Considering all the hubbub others went to avoid commenting on the political issues in Russia, I was impressed that Jason was able to answer plainly and simply.
Jason's approach seems like a happy medium between being blunt and being overly PC.
Wicked Yankee Girl
Because of his mom having been Arsenio's executive producer, Jason & his sister have been aware of tv talk shows their whole lives. It's got to help.
This is a good point too. Part of what so intrigues me about this thread is how my perspective has changed as the comments have come in. What draws me to the sport, I realize, is not what necessarily makes it or can make it generally popular. Most of the people who come to this site regularly, I am thinking, are drawn to the sport because they love to watch great skating (as we each appreciate it). The general mass popularity, the more casual viewer follows his and her sports for a different reason, and it was those reasons that the writer of the article tried to address. As you properly point out, SB, it is not just what us uber fans think, but relatively the way and trends of how and what broader portions of the population, who will never been uber-any-sport, think and do, and some of the rather visible hard reality is not that good.
Originally Posted by Skater Boy
The road for recovery for figure skating is not going to be an easy one. (I am still hopeful though.)
Missing Tdizzle and SDiggity
Agree with your educated guess (and I admire Jason for being 100% comfortable with himself), but don't understand why his ponytail is under discussion at all in the context of this thread.
Originally Posted by phaeljones
(Shaun White was wearing his hair long and loose at the time that he became an extremely popular superstar. The much shorter hairstyle that he has now also looks good on him. Doesn't make him any more or less appealing to me [someone who is a generation older and who always has liked him].)
p.s. I have realized that my post above (#35) perhaps was unclear. When I said, "But sponsors already have placed their bets" on Davis/White and the ladies, I was responding to noidont's opinion that "the golden marketing period is after the Olympics, not before." I meant only that sponsors already (before the Olympics) have staked their claims on D/W and the ladies -- to be prepared with a pre-existing relationship if/when they hit the medal jackpot. Was not saying that it's too late for sponsors to place their bets on Jason as well.
I think the Businessweek story was deficient for not mentioning Jason's FS video. I think that the phenomenon of it going viral signifies that contrary to conventional wisdom, the general public is not hard-wired to prefer the ladies' discipline. All bets are off, and that's a good thing.