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Thread: ABC and the ISU

  1. #16
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    I really didn't think the SLC scandal was going to be that bad. I figured people would forget about it in a few months. I didn't expect it to be cited as a reason for decline...

  2. #17
    Originally posted by Gipson
    I really didn't think the SLC scandal was going to be that bad. I figured people would forget about it in a few months. I didn't expect it to be cited as a reason for decline...
    I don't think it's really fair to attribute it all to the SLC thing. Skating popularity was in a decline long before that. I get the feeling that people in the skating community are looking for something to blame and that's the easiest thing.

    I'm personally looking forward to more skating on ESPN. The scrolling scores are annoying - especially the chime - but I think ESPN more than makes up for it by showing 1 or 2 more performances per broadcast. It used to be that ABC would show 6 skaters per hour, now there are times when only 4 get shown in an hour.

    This year on ABC coverage, we got 2 short programs that were already shown on ESPN, 4 free dances, and 8 ladies' free skates in 3 whole hours of coverage. We only got 4 pairs and 5 men in 2 hours of coverage while chacking one of the best performances in the competition (or so I hear since I didn't get to see it!). Last year we didn't even get to see the bronze medalists in dance. The sad thing is that this is still better than CBS coverage. I wish ESPN would respect skating more, but their coverage is generally more professional.
    Last edited by tazban01; 04-02-2004 at 02:27 PM.

  3. #18
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    I am also hesitant to attribute all of the blame for this move to the SLC scandal. I'm a big fan of skating and I had already gotten over it. There have been acusations of rigging for years, this is just the highest profile instance where they caught them in it. In the past all the drama with the eastern block giving unwarented low scored to north american skaters drew more attention as well. I dont think that any scoring system can ever totally do away with inconsistencies in judging... although its a sport, it is one that is evaluated subjectively. I think that some of the scandal is actually GOOD for the sport. Look at the ratings from the lilehammer olympics due to the whole nancy and tanya thing.

  4. #19
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    ABC and the ISU

    Longhornliz,

    I think you make a good point that controversy tends to increase interest in figureskating. People, unfortunately, are naturally drawn to trouble. I believe the tendency would be for fans and even non-fans to tune in to catch more of the same.

    I believe it's boredom which loses spectators in figureskating. For one thing, at one point there were too many professional competitions on tv which I believe became boring for the general public. Personally speaking, there is no such thing as too much figureskating on tv for me but I'm an avid fan.

    There is no question that the popularity of figureskating is very low right now. I'm just hoping that interest will increase as we get closer to the Olympics.

    Dizzy

  5. #20
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    Originally posted by Emilieanne
    The ISU still needs the monies that would come from broadcasting skating events. Where do they think they are going to get the same amount of money they got from ABC? We all know that US TV broadcasting provided the ISU with monies substantial enough to make up over half of its budget. Without that amount of money, all of the ISU powers-that-be are going to have to subject themselves to some extreme cost-cutting measures (all those perks they all enjoy cost lots of money) which they will most likely find humiliating and unpleasant. I am in favor of anything that is going to make them squirm.:D

    It is too bad for all the fans to miss out on viewing skating because of the bureaucratic stupidity that is going on. :sheesh:
    Yes, the ISU does need the money especially to pay cinquantas since his salary is not affected by the cuts. Maybe Smart Ones did not want to advertise anymore. We don't know.

    ABC's decision I believe has a lot to do with the decline of interest in Figure Skating. We, on these forums probably make up about 200,000 avid fans but that's nothing compared to the growing sport of Nascaa. sad but true. ABC puts on the Sport which will bring in the most renenue. There was nothing about it being picked up by CBS and NBC. We have to face the fact that the Sport is in decline. Casual fans are no longer interested, although I can not see anyone looking at race cars going round and round for 2 hours. But people do.

    Let's be hopeful that ABC's subsidiary ESPN can make it a decent coverage of figure skating.

    Joe

  6. #21
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    I wonder if this move will have any affect on the cable channel that is scheduled to begin being broadcasting this fall... I wonder if ESPN's deal is exclusive and if that would preven the ISU from selling broadcast rights of the 2004-2005 season to the ice channel?

    Also I want to encourage all of you to call or write your cable providers asking them to pick up this new station... even if it will be offered as a premium channel and you dont forsee yourself purchasing it, we need to rally together as fans to make sure that the network really does come into fruition. It will increase the sports fan base, and maybe coverage of grand prix events will return to a major network in the near future.

    www.theicechannel.com
    Last edited by Longhornliz; 04-04-2004 at 03:47 PM.

  7. #22
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    well, this sucks cuz i live in Canada and i don't get ESPN. the Canadian channels only show some events, and hardly any GP events. does anyone know if any Canadian channels will be picking up more skating coverage next season?

  8. #23
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    Despite all what is going on, the ISU still needs money and lots of it! Where do the ISU powers-that-be think those monies are going to come from? The need for those monies is great enough that at some point a lot of crow (or skunk) will have to be eaten in some form or another to get those monies (yeah, I know...that will be the day). This is going to make for a most interesting show just to see what the powers-that-be actually do to get the monies necessary to support their lifestyles.:D

  9. #24
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    I do think that a big part of the reason for the decline of interest in figure skating by the general public is the perception that it's fixed, phoney, fraudulent, political, bloc judging, bribing, etc., etc., etc.

    Ask a casual fan what he or she remembers about the 2002 Olympics and the answer will be (if not "huh?"), "French judge." Not Sarah hughes coming from behind in a stunning upset, not Alexei Yagudin racking up the 6.0s, but crooked judging.

    What is remembered about 1994? Wicked Communist Jan Hofmann cheated for Oksana Baiul against all-American sweetheart Nancy Kerrigan.

    It is never good for any sport when the fans leave the arena talking about the officiating instead of the game. That was the worst thing about Worlds. All the buzz is about whether the judges cheated against Michelle or for Michelle, and once again it is the referee and judges, not the skaters, who are in the spotlight of attention.

    No sport can prosper in this kind of climate. The ISU is pinning it's hopes on the CoP. We'll see. If Cinquanta does not give in on the issue of secret judging, I bet this next Olympics will be the least-watched of the last 20 years.

    Actually, I think Cinquanta will ditch the secret judging and the random draw. I think the IOC will make him do so, if they want any audience at all.

    (End of rant, LOL.)

    Mathman

  10. #25
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    Hi
    I cannot remember the exact details but CBC did sign a contract with the ISU for figure skating broadcasts for the next four years I believe. I also am quite sure they will cover grand prix events next year as well as world's. They had over 12 hours of coverage of this year's worlds so if that is any indication I am hoping for good coverage in Canada for the next four years
    jfdw

  11. #26
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    According to a recent article by Phil Hersh, The Ice Channel may instead be a regular installment on the Lifetime Channel:

    Tribune Article

  12. #27
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    Some ways this is better, for me at least. I have Lifetime! It's unlikely that Comcast would have picked up the Ice Channel until it proved its ability to make money. Now I'll have what there is at once. And if the segment gets market share, Ice Channel may indeed become a channel. But then Comcast may well pick it up.

  13. #28
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    Originally posted by Mathman
    I do think that a big part of the reason for the decline of interest in figure skating by the general public is the perception that it's fixed, phoney, fraudulent, political, bloc judging, bribing, etc., etc., etc.
    I think you are right about this. What's really sad is that it is the media that escalates these issues. I'm not saying that unfair or fixed judging doesn't take place or that when it does, it should be ignored. But there are ways to address these issues that don't involve the media turning it into the story of the century. It's sad that the media would choose to overdo a story that in the short term, would bring a lot of public attention to skating, but in the long run, would end up giving skating less of the viewing public than before because the media showed skating in such a bad light.

    No matter what "scandals" happen in the world of skating, I will always be a fan and want to watch the skating (and not the drama). It's really sad that there will be even less opportunity to do so.

  14. #29
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    Face it: this year's Grand Prix was a bore. Half of the competitions featured Cohen and Arakawa, with Cohen always winning, no matter how erratically she skated, and Arakawa finishing 2nd or 3rd. The other 3 competitions featured a bunch of hard-luck skaters, with Elena Liashenko coming out on top most of the time. Elena Liashenko? Now there's a name unknown to the average viewer.

    For US fans, Tim Goebel was disturbingly out of shape, and Mikey Weiss was just plain embarrassing, as were the US Pairs. The Canadian fans cheered for Buttle, cringed at Sandhu's indifferent performances, and kept hoping for a Canadian lady to win a berth at the final--to no avail. Meanwhile, Evgeny Plushenko, he of the injured knee, collected a pile of gold medals. There was a bit of excitement over the GPF, with Buttle having to drop out due to illness, and Sandhu defeating Plushenko on a peculiar CoP technicality, and Cohen finally facing defeat at the feet of a resurgent Fumie Suguri. But by then, having had to wait so long to see each GP installment, the fans had dropped like flies.

    Is it going to be any better this year? Probably not. But we can hope...

  15. #30
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    Originally posted by Longhornliz
    I am also hesitant to attribute all of the blame for this move to the SLC scandal. I'm a big fan of skating and I had already gotten over it. There have been acusations of rigging for years, this is just the highest profile instance where they caught them in it. In the past all the drama with the eastern block giving unwarented low scored to north american skaters drew more attention as well. I dont think that any scoring system can ever totally do away with inconsistencies in judging... although its a sport, it is one that is evaluated subjectively. I think that some of the scandal is actually GOOD for the sport. Look at the ratings from the lilehammer olympics due to the whole nancy and tanya thing.
    Longhornliz - Your post is very good but you haven't given a reason for the downgrading figure skating from a mjor network to cable. It is obvious that there is a decline in interest but if the SLC didn't cause it, what did?

    Joe

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