Tracking ISU and U.S. Figure Skating Events, Issues and Governance
I have just come to realize what is so different with coverage of skating this summer. It really is the clarion call and the beginning of what will continue to unfold as the Internet and Social Media brings huge change to the sport of figure skating.
Think about it. It is social media with all its variants that is opening up dialogue between Skaters, Coaches, Officials, and Fans in a way we have never seen before. Folks we are witnessing just the beginning of a new era of coverage for figure skating.
In all previous summers, news got passed by word of mouth, with hints of this and that from posts to skating forums and on occasion from the assorted figure skating sites and columnists when they would write a story. Skating fans suffered real withdrawals from lack of information. No More!
This is the summer of revolution. Skating reporting sites have exploded along with blogs from skaters, coaches, and fans alike. Even skating federations are getting into the act with official pages on Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, etc. Vlogs, vine, Instagram, Snapchat all provide a variety of skating information, both official and personal.
YouTube which has been providing skating performances for several years now has exploded with hundreds of new subscriber channels devoted to all aspects of the sport from skating programs, events, coaching, technical information and ISU official releases and coverage of skating events. Length of videos once restricted to 10 minutes in length now see clips of several hours being posted; even live streaming is being done from YouTube now.
There have been the addition of Skating Interview shows from several sources; PJ Kwong, features in-depth coverage of Canadian skating while The Skating Lesson with former skater Jennifer Kirk and Adult Skater David Peters is providing a new hard-hitting news and information style of interviews with past and present coaches, skaters and officials. Topics previously not touched from off-ice to on-ice controversies as well as powerful stories of courage and redemption from those in and around the sport are gracing our computer screens.
Beginning with the start of the Olympic Season this coming September, skating coverage finally will see complete, live internet coverage in the United States on IceNetwork.com via a new agreement between NBC, Universal Sports, the ISU and U.S. Figure Skating. No more searching the web for a foreign media source for coverage. It will all be in one place.
Yes, figure skating coverage is growing at a rapid pace on the web as it inevitably was destined to do. Skating on network television will feature more and more internet interface as social media and live streaming increase in both availability and reliability. Tweeting, with links to photos uploaded by skaters from competitions and shows is adding a new dimension to coverage of the sport.
What is needed to bring skating fans back to TV is a Cable Skating News, Programming and Event channel. U.S. Figure Skating should begin to look into partnering with a Sponsor/Sponsors to eventually make this possible and help Ice Network to expand to television via such a venture or as a block of time on an existing cable outlet.
We are experiencing the evolution of coverage of Figure Skating and I am excited to be a tiny part of it.
Peter Murray – Editor, Blazing Blades