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Thread: Can big money absolute champion matches make skating popular again?

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    Can big money absolute champion matches make skating popular again?

    Competitive rivalries, big stars and large prize fund are needed to popularize a sport. If two men, women, pairs and dance couples are to fight in an annual match for the titles of absolute champions and big money, it could be attractive to the public, broadcasters, advertisers and sponsors.

    These absolute champion matches will be held in April or May, replacing WTT, which also comprises of four disciplines. In the inaugural year, the top two finishers at the world championships will fight for the absolute champion titles. In subsequent years, the world championships will be used to determine the challengers to previous year’s absolute champions. The absolute champions have the choice to compete or not compete in the world championships. ISU will find title sponsors and guarantee a minimum prize fund of $2,000,000, twice as WTT, which definitely can’t be compared to the absolute champion matches in prestige and rating. The absolute champions will win at least $300,000 and the runner-ups $200,000. However, individual men’s, women’s, pairs’ and ice dance matches may have varied prize money based their own sponsorships and advertisers.

    For example, in the men’s discipline we have a big star in Yuzuru Hanyu. Nathan Chen is becoming competitive with him. They are 4:4 in head-to-head competitions. Losing to Chen at this year’s world championships was painful to Hanyu. If they could have a match for the absolute champion title in the following month or two, it would be euphoric to the fans. Their match could potentially go up to million dollars.

    More money, more competitive, more talks, more viewers, better rating, more advertisers and sponsors. It’s a virtuous cycle and a win-win to all stakeholders. It could eventually make figure skating popular again and benefit to all.

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    Rinkside ime's Avatar
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    The problem is....where should these money come from?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ime View Post
    The problem is....where should these money come from?
    WTT has $1,00,000 prize money. ISU could talk to WTT organizers and ask them to replace it with absolute champion match (ACM). It is feasible, even if it's $1,000,000 for the first ACM.

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    FS is not boxing. It's not face to face sports but an individual sport competing with themselves.
    I don't think ACM competition will appeal more views and money. Instead of attention, more pressure and injury possiblity to skaters.

    And already there are world championship and Olympics. Biggest competition of year. Full of dramas too. WTT is also fun competiton that skaters try difficult or different elements with less pressure.
    I think FS is very popular in Japan without ACM competitons. If ISU would promote FS other way, it's better to entertain crowded with creative way. Not dependent on star skaters, but as FS itself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by seimei View Post
    FS is not boxing. It's not face to face sports but an individual sport competing with themselves.
    I don't think ACM competition will appeal more views and money. Instead of attention, more pressure and injury possiblity to skaters.

    And already there are world championship and Olympics. Biggest competition of year. Full of dramas too. WTT is also fun competiton that skaters try difficult or different elements with less pressure.
    I think FS is very popular in Japan without ACM competitons. If ISU would promote FS other way, it's better to entertain crowded with creative way. Not dependent on star skaters, but as FS itself.
    That’s the point – To turn a fluffy WTT, the biggest money competition in figure skating, into a high stake match that ISU could sell to the TV networks and advertisers. You invest 1 million$ and get 10 million$ returns.

    The format could be SP+FS or FS+jump/element competition or FS only to fit in a 2-hr or 3-hr TV programing with time for Kiss&Cry, commentating and Ads.

    Figure skating matches can be attractive to the public. It has a skill-based competitive side (similar to golf minus the big money, getting points from your skills/elements) and an eye-pleasing, entertaining artistic side (like WOD, DWTS, SYTYCD, getting points from the judges).

    These are the two best competitors in the four skating disciplines in the world. As long as large money is at stake, people will be interested. Big stars and ISU getting big money will trickle down to other skaters, coaches and federations, like high water raises all boats.

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    Figure skating is popular in Japan, already. If ISU wants to increase popularity, they can start by keeping videos from being removed after competitions.

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    My feeling... Figure skating can't be popular until casual viewers understand the scoring system

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    I don't think money's the issue.
    There are several things I wanted to point out, why I think figure skating can't be a massively popular sport (correct me if I'm wrong, it's just my opinion, I'd appreciate inputs from others)

    1. People prefer low involvement, clear and understandable sports.
    You don't need much to understand the rules of hockey, tennis, boxing or football. Things are pretty simple for the most part, and moreover, the winner is usually clearly identifiable.
    The same cannot be applied to fs, where to majority the jumps look exactly the same and understanding what's happening on ice requires some deeper level of involvement.
    I getting on that level is pretty geeky shall I say, not everyone will have interest in spending time on that.
    If a person can identify a winner himself, there's that feeling of understanding the sport. When a judge has to tell you who's won, it starts to have some 'show' features.

    2. The athletes' longevity in other popular sports seems in general to be way longer than of those in figure skating.
    The athletes are also the people who make sport popular, so having a nearly-40-year old seasoned veteran Federer will make tickets sell out like hot cakes, but a youngster Shapovalov, is not going to be that demanded. Building up that popularity, getting recognition with public outside on tennis fans and that legend status takes years.
    Same goes for team sports, where although players are interchangeable, they still play quite long for the most part. And teams are there forever, so people always have some familiarity and interest.
    Figure skaters generally compete much less than that, so that makes them...less memorable for the general public.

    3. Adrenalin and age groups.
    I think another factor that contributes to successes of other sports, is that in general things always go pretty intense. There's a lot of adrenalin, energy, screaming, team spirit.
    Figure skating is a calm sport, and generally those who are more interested in this sport are elders and some amount of teenagers. Those aren't high-mobility/high-paying age groups.
    I think this adds up to some other sports being more popular, having more crowd and also getting more televised as well.

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    No. In fact I think they'd be better off holding WTT in the summer and have it be judged on show style skating. So the most entertaining country wins. People stopped watching skating because it stopped being fun. I don't like the look of quads especially on young girls where I worry they are going to snap their necks.

    Give the fans what they say they've been wanting. Spirals, artistry, beauty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nussnacker View Post
    I don't think money's the issue.
    There are several things I wanted to point out, why I think figure skating can't be a massively popular sport (correct me if I'm wrong, it's just my opinion, I'd appreciate inputs from others)

    1. People prefer low involvement, clear and understandable sports.
    You don't need much to understand the rules of hockey, tennis, boxing or football. Things are pretty simple for the most part, and moreover, the winner is usually clearly identifiable.
    The same cannot be applied to fs, where to majority the jumps look exactly the same and understanding what's happening on ice requires some deeper level of involvement.
    I getting on that level is pretty geeky shall I say, not everyone will have interest in spending time on that.
    If a person can identify a winner himself, there's that feeling of understanding the sport. When a judge has to tell you who's won, it starts to have some 'show' features.
    I think this is why the new judging system failed. Back in the day, it was easy to understand that a clean, emotionally moving or entertaining skate would win. I'm going to say something scandalous. What IS the point of having skating set to music if artistry and showmanship is not the #1 priority? I mean really.

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    Tripping on the Podium
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    Quote Originally Posted by tothepointe View Post
    I think this is why the new judging system failed. Back in the day, it was easy to understand that a clean, emotionally moving or entertaining skate would win. I'm going to say something scandalous. What IS the point of having skating set to music if artistry and showmanship is not the #1 priority? I mean really.
    Because that's an insult to the technical aspects of the sport that the athletes train to deliver in competitions?

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    Quote Originally Posted by tothepointe View Post
    I think this is why the new judging system failed. Back in the day, it was easy to understand that a clean, emotionally moving or entertaining skate would win. I'm going to say something scandalous. What IS the point of having skating set to music if artistry and showmanship is not the #1 priority? I mean really.
    Well, you have ice shows for that. Sport is based on different philosophy, even the outcomes can be the same. But the point is in who is stronger and faster and (not necessarily) bigger, certanly not who is more beautiful which is not a very defined word itself. We can of course enjoy in beauty presented to us, but its one thing to be loveable, and the other is to be a winner.

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    Yeah....NOT going to happen and shouldn't

    The sport is misunderstood by said poster if they think this will ever work. IMHO this is also an insult to the sport.

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    WTT is awesome because it's fluffy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tahuu View Post
    You invest 1 million$ and get 10 million$ returns.
    We are thinking too small. Floyd Mayweather received, for his last fight, not 1 million, not 10 million, but 275 million. The loser was consoled with an 85 million dollar pay day.

    Figure skating matches can be attractive to the public. It has a skill-based competitive side (similar to golf ... )
    The comparison to golf is interesting. Although there is such a thing as match play, and once in a while we might have a gimmick like Tiger versus Phil, what people really tune in for is the big tournaments. The 100 or so best golfers go at it in a big free-for-all, like in the World Championship in figure skating.

    Sa,me thing in tennis. Sometimes there are individual matches and exhibitions. But the big money is at the majors. Wimbledon has 128 players all at once. I guess it depends on the sport, which format is figured to be most profitable.
    Last edited by Mathman; 07-12-2019 at 08:43 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    The comparison to golf is interesting. Although there is such a thing as match play, and once in a while we might have a gimmick like Tiger versus Phil, what people really tune in for is the big tournaments. The 100 or so best golfers go at it in a big free-for-all, like in the World Championship in figure skating.

    Sa,me thing in tennis. Sometimes there are individual matches and exhibitions. But the big money is at the majors. Wimbledon has 128 players all at once. I guess it depends on the sport, which format is figured to be most profitable.
    But golf and tennis tournaments are essentially matches despite the large fields. They go through rounds of elimination till a winner is crowned. BTW the SP elimination round of world championships in figure skating is not the same as the elimination rounds in golf and tennis.

    Imagine during world championships in March viewers are constantly reminded the winner will earn the right to challenge the reigning Absolute Champion so and so in a match for the title and a million dollars next month or even just $150,000 for the debuting match, we can already see the absolute champion match can attract way more audience, TV reviewers and advertisers than the meaningless 6-country WTT, which certainly has no network buyers globally.

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    no one understands the scoring

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