Access is a significant factor in interest level - true or not?

moonvine

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
So, a coach in a different sport said the above - "Access is a significant level in interest level" (He was specifically speaking of spectator interest, but I could see it applying to athlete interest as well). For example, when I was a young girl it was easy to find a gymnastics program, but we had no rinks within reasonable distance (100 miles?) of my home. My mom was not going to make a 200 mile round trip for LTS classes. Anyway he's arguing that since men's gymnastics doesn't get enough TV coverage, there are few spectators - which I guess would lead to fewer athletes.

Anyway, thoughts?
 

el henry

Fangirl of menā€™s spirals and split jumps
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Joined
Mar 3, 2014
That is a very interesting question.

When I was coming up, I knew no one, and I mean no one, who figure skated. Presumably there were rinks (I know there were, people played hockey, although even that was specialized), but the only skating I ever did (if you can dignify what I was doing with the word skating) was on a frozen lake.

Yet I was as dedicated a figure skating fan as one could be through Wide World of Sports:biggrin: I would hate to see how small the fandom would be if it were restricted to folks with access to ice rinks. :confused:
 

rain

Record Breaker
Joined
Jul 29, 2003
So, a coach in a different sport said the above - "Access is a significant level in interest level" (He was specifically speaking of spectator interest, but I could see it applying to athlete interest as well). For example, when I was a young girl it was easy to find a gymnastics program, but we had no rinks within reasonable distance (100 miles?) of my home. My mom was not going to make a 200 mile round trip for LTS classes. Anyway he's arguing that since men's gymnastics doesn't get enough TV coverage, there are few spectators - which I guess would lead to fewer athletes.

Anyway, thoughts?

Oh, I think exposure absolutely has a lot to do with interest level. Some sports are just cool to watch, however you slice it, but for many others like hockey, basketball, cricket, soccer etc. the level of interest has a lot to do with if you grew up watching and understanding it. It becomes a part of particular cultures.
 

moonvine

Record Breaker
Joined
Mar 14, 2007
That is a very interesting question.

When I was coming up, I knew no one, and I mean no one, who figure skated. Presumably there were rinks (I know there were, people played hockey, although even that was specialized), but the only skating I ever did (if you can dignify what I was doing with the word skating) was on a frozen lake.

Yet I was as dedicated a figure skating fan as one could be through Wide World of Sports:biggrin: I would hate to see how small the fandom would be if it were restricted to folks with access to ice rinks. :confused:

There weren't even hockey rinks here, per se. If some sort of ice show came to town (this was back in the day when ice shows were big) they'd let people come out and skate after the show if they had skates and knew how already. To contrast, there were tons of roller rinks, and I learned to roller skate by having a pair of roller skates put on my feet and going out - no pads, no helmets, no LTS - that's how we rolled in the 70's - and fall and fall and fall and fall and pull myself up until I worked it out for myself. But *everyone* knew how to roller skate. I had and went to many a birthday party in the roller rink.

And yes, Wide World of Sports! It was syndicated and sometimes did not come on until 2:30 am! My mother and I would set alarms and get up and watch. In fact, if not for my mom, I might not be a figure skating or gymnastics fan, and i sure would never have gotten the opportunity to be an equestrian. thanks Mom.:thank:

Oddly, with all that watching, it never occurred to me that I could actually go to a competition, and I may never have if it I hadn't *had* to go to Worlds in 2016 to see my Gracie. Thanks Gracie.:thank: My mom won't go with me, she says it is too expensive, oh well.

Now I go to every competition I possibly can!
 

Lunalovesskating

Moonbear power šŸ»
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Joined
Jul 3, 2018
I think exposure plays definitely a part in it, but I think it is often more complex than that. Usually exposure stops because the interest already died beforehand, if there are not enough viewers, the TV coverage also disappears. However, I think there are often more factors that play into those things.
For example in Germany figure skating has nearly died out, because it is simply impossible to be a really competitive skater here. Homeschooling is illegal in Germany, therefore students have to attend school 5 days a week, usually until 1-4pm. And many schools have compulsary clubs students have to attend around twice a week, therefore students are usually at home during the late afternoon/early evening depending on the day. Therefore it is impossible to train 30-40 hours a week to be a competitive skater. And as with time therefore Germany had no longer great skaters the interest in the sport just died. If there are no great skaters from your country the interest and exposure just diminishes. Katarina Witt often talks about this issue in interviews.
 

Harriet

Record Breaker
Joined
Oct 23, 2017
Country
Australia
I think exposure on the audience side (whether via television or by skating being easy to access/part of the local culture) is kind of the flip side of access to resources on the athlete side. You need both: exposure to create interest (in both potential skaters and the wider potential audience), and reasonably easy/affordable access to resources to build on that interest and create skaters and committed audiences. But both take time, money and dedication to build, and that's the problem.
 
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