Worth the money?
I was wondering if subscribing to Icenetwork is a good idea. I live in the US and normally get to see the long programs of the grandprix events, US nationals, select programs from Europeans and Worlds on television. I would like to see more figure skating and I'm considering Icenetwork in the fall. Is the quality good, do they have a good selection of events, how are the commentators?
Also I am considering attending US nationals next year (I'm from North Carolina). I have never been to a live competition, only shows, so is it worth seeing live in the arena? If so, is it better to sit in the middle of the arena or at the end, do you need to be sitting fairly close to the ice to get a good view of things?
Finally, if you had to choose between attending US nationals or Skate America which would you pick?
Thanks for your input.
I would say do Skate America, you are getting to see some of the international stars, not just the U.S. skaters.
I can't speak to the IceNetwork because it's not available with U-verse (at least in Texas)
IceNetwork and it's efficiency is based totally on what kind of a computer you have - what size screen, what line speed, etc. I live in a fairly rural area and can only get 756KB line speed and watching skating is miserable - the screen is buffering all the time, the skating is disjointed and I won't subscribe to it again. During the Olympics and Worlds this year I was able to subscribe to the Universal Sports Network and I loved it. Of course, it isn't available in a lot of areas.
I've been to Skate America, Skate Canada and Nationals (several times) and I would pick Nationals every time. Not only do you see the elite skaters but you also get to see the skaters that are up and coming. AND it last 7 days instead of 4 days. But I will say that seeing Stephane Lambiel at Skate Canada was totally worth the price.
IMO, competitions are worth spending the money to attend. Skating is always better live than on television.
I subscribe to IceNetwork and feel that it is worth the money. You get to watch a lot of skating 'on demand.' Therefore, you can watch, and re-watch, a lot of skating at times that fit your own personal schedule.
can't answer most of your questions but i can say that the icenetwork commentary is very low-frills and bare-bones. mostly just announcing skaters, maybe calling some jumps, with very little analysis. also don't seem to use professional voice talent, as the voices are often low and seem to be basically reading lines.
on edit: type icenetwork into youtube you should be able to find some example videos of their coverage. i know there was a full broadcast of 2013(?) us nationals ladies sp(?) on there.
Oh by all means go to Nationals, and volunteer to help! It's an experience of a lifetime. You'll be amazed at the number of former stars you'll see in the stands, in the hallways, in the hotels, and at restaurants. You'll see the future skaters as well as the current. I plan to go to the first one I can after I retire in two years. Ive been to 2 nationals, St Louis and Cleveland. I volunteered at Cleveland and met the organizer of the first Greensboro Nationals. I've been to a world championship (in Cincinnati--87) and while exciting, it didn't hold the thrill of attending a nationals.
Try to sit near the kiss and cry area, between 6 and 12 rows back. You can see the skaters as they enter the ice, then watch as they sit in the kiss and cry, It's a good vantage point, in my opinion. You'll be amazed at the speed of the skating, the size of the skaters, and the beauty and excitement of the sport when you see the competition live. Much different than a stars on ice or other show.
IceNetwork may not be the top of the line in terms of commentary talent; however, it is decent. The skating coverage is not as good as what the major broadcast networks can provide; however, it is better than relying on YouTube videos. The price that you pay for IceNetwork is real cheap. Access to so much skating for such a low price is a bargain.
Size 7 Knifeboots
I actually enjoy finding a crappy live feed and commenting live on it right here at GS!!
If you're in the US I'd say it's absolutely worth it. I'd have a different answer for you if you were outside the US.
Not sure what kind of icenetwork some of the posters in this thread have been watching, but there is definitely commentary and while sometimes it's not bad, Michael Weiss at US Nationals this year was ATROCIOUS. Yap yap yap yap yap.
You definitely should go to nationals if you live in NC! I've heard really awesome things about Greensboro as a venue. Also I agree with everyone else above, there's sort of an electricity in the arena because you're not only dealing with elite skaters but with skaters whose dream was to simply make it to nationals. And as noskates pointed out, it's great to see some of the up-and-comers.
I've been to Skate America once (Seattle, 2012) and it's definitely fun to see some of the top international stars there. And if you hang out at the host hotel, you get a chance to meet and talk to skaters and coaches (I got a chance to talk to Brian Orser for like 30 minutes at the hotel bar).
Seeing skating live is great because there are just some things that don't translate well on television, such as speed and height of jumps. There were certain skaters I had more appreciation for after seeing them live. Mae Bernice Meite in the ladies and Bobrova and Soloviev come to mind for me.
I've been a subscriber to Ice Network for several years and I definitely it's worth the money if you are not able to go to competitions and want to see competitions in real-time. I do think Ice Network has improved its video over the years; I think the quality is decent.
Totally worth the money to go--my mom and I have been to 2 nationals, 4 Skate Americas and one GP final--we loved all of them. You're lucky to be so close to Nationals so that might be a reason to go there but with SA, you do get the international skaters. We sit in one of the middle sections on the long side of the rink about 11-12 rows up. Some people really prefer the rows closer to the ice but we like the view you get from a little higher up. At one of the competitions we were right behind the judges which impaired the view a little when the skaters did something right for the judges but maybe this isn't a problem in every rink and it would depend on how high up you are. Have fun--I'm jealous--we can't do any live competitions this year.
Wicked Yankee Girl
And I'd add that Greensboro did a great job putting on Nationals in 2011. Hotel prices were quite reasonable, too!
Gotta Have Music
^ Absolutely. So glad they're doing it again next January!
Keeper of the Kweens OGM.
I would definitely go to Nationals. I live outside of Philly and I have always had regrets on not going to 98 Nationals. I think this years Nationals will be exciting! Definitely go for it if you can.
Icenetwork is an OK deal IF you live in the US and IF you have decent internet. I do hate the fact that they deep-sixed their archived video from 08 and 09. The commentary is usually low key and unobtrusive. Sometimes there is no commentary at all, which I actually prefer.
I'd chose Nationals over Skate America-more skating, and a great view into what skaters are on the way up.
If you ever get the chance to go to Worlds-do it.