And we still can’t fix figure skating. No pun intended.
Today, I was watching the free dance from the 2018 Canadian Tire Nationals via live stream. With Ted Barton and Debbie Wilkes. It was going swimmingly until it was announced the final six ice dance teams could be seen on TSN. So, flip over there.
And that’s the issue.
In Canada, skating wants to attract a younger audience – most of whom don’t have cable. Technology from the 1960s has run its course. Like ice dance, we need to evolve. If I could watch the US Nationals via live stream, why not in my own country? It’s mind boggling. And it’s time to change.
But a younger audience? Ages 18 to 35? Yes, that’s who you want to engage. Again, most don’t have cable. Dare I say, they were turned off when the live stream ended last night with the men’s competition. But, oh, we could’ve watched the broadcast on TSN.
In the era of Netflix and Spotify – and in an Olympic year – why end a live stream in the middle of the competition? Especially when the broadcast was reaching people in the United States and Scotland?
If Skate Canada wants to attract a younger audience, they need to learn and follow the trends. Where is that younger audience? Not on Facebook. They’re on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. Yes, Skate Canada, you have a presence on these platform. But do you engage with your individual followers? If not, that’s a -3.
But when skating is begging for a younger audience, and it doesn’t live stream? That’s a double downgrade.
Before the live stream ended, Barton was discussing how Skate Canada was teaming up with Hockey Canada to push the CanSkate program. Can you imagine a world where Hockey Canada live streamed the IIHF and then pulled the, “Well, that’s it from the World Hockey Championships. You can watch final between Canada and the US on TSN. Bye-bye.”
Half of Canada would lose their minds. And you thought Ellen broke Twitter? There’d be such madness, Hockey Canada would scramble to revive the stream.
But that’s hockey, you’re saying. This is figure skating.
Sure. Then let’s just keep going with the status quo. And we’ll watch the audience numbers decline.
This isn’t 2008.
We can do better.