Sunday, April 17, 2011

Where in the World will YOU be Getting Your Worlds Figure Skating Coverage?

When it comes to coverage of 2011 Worlds, unique circumstances are certainly begetting a unique situation.

No, not so unique that NBC is planning to cover it. As with last year, mainstream TV is simply not in the cards for Worlds coverage these days. But here’s the long and short of it (at least for U.S. fans): you can either pay a nominal fee to see it streaming live online, or catch everything except the Pairs SP and the Short Dance on a same-day (or next-day) delay from Universal Sports.

Before I get into the debate that naturally accompanies such an announcement… here is the “Streaming” schedule (available at UniversalSports.com for $9.95, or at IceNetwork.com for $4.95 IF you are a current subscriber):

Wednesday, April 27
5:30 a.m.: Men's short program
10:45 a.m.: Opening ceremonies
11:30 a.m.: Pairs short program

Thursday, April 28
5:00 a.m.: Men's free skate
10:00 a.m.: Pairs free skate

Friday, April 29
5:30 a.m.: Ladies short program
10:30 a.m.: Short dance

Saturday, April 30
5:30 a.m.: Ladies free skate
10:30 a.m.: Free dance

And now the “TV” schedule (and by TV I mean for those of us that have Universal Sports within our reach):

Wednesday, April 27
6:00 pm: Men's short program

Thursday, April 28
6:00 pm: Men's free skate
8:00 pm: Pairs free skate

Friday, April 29
6:00 pm: Ladies short program

Saturday, April 30
6:00 pm: Ladies free skate
8:00 pm: Free dance

I’ve read most of the comments that have been posted at IceNetwork.com about the schedule. It appears to be a pretty even mix between those that endorse (or at least accept) this set-up, and those expressing various levels of “disappointment”… in at least one case, stating that rather than pay the fee, the subscriber intends to wait a few days and watch most of it on YouTube for free. That’s surely the sentiment of plenty of fans, and hardly news to the folks at IceNetwork and Universal Sports. I guess the presumption is that if you don’t mind seeing it a few days later, think of YouTube as the NBC of this event… free, but not exactly timely. (That’s IF you can find it—assuming Universal and IceNetwork are sharing internet rights on this event, they’ll have the authority to take down any Worlds post they like.)

As for me, it just so happens that the streaming video works better with my schedule than the TV coverage. I DO get Universal Sports where I live, but I’m also an IceNetwork subscriber, and will probably pay the 5 extra bucks… though I’m not sure I’d pay much more than that. I’m very curious what other skating fans think, and/or plan to do; after all, Worlds officially gets underway in about a week. So please post a comment if you like!

3 comments:

Peter Murray said...

I will watch Worlds LIVE on Ice Network and UniversalSports.com will be my backup web stream. I will also record the same-day TV coverage on Universal Sports Cable Channel.

Being a regular annual subscriber to Ice Network, I have no argument with U.S. Figure Skating asking an extra five dollars for the coverage of Worlds (which was not part of the season subscription rate).

kortney said...

I guess I'm thankful I'm Canadian!!! I will watch some same day-delayed stuff on CBC (which is channel 3 - you know the one "everyone" gets in a basic cable package) and the rest on their sister-network which is $2.95 a month with 100% coverage live of all skaters...plus they show it on their website for free too ;)

nimoloth said...

It's on Eurosport (cable/digital/online, all subscription based), but only a few events are live - they are showing highlights in the evenings, but only one or two hours at a time, since they have a prior commitment to broadcast the World Snooker Championships.

Eurosport's online player is only a few pounds a month - I sign up for a month or two when there's something of interest on. My only complaint is that they don't have a play-again feature, and a lot of the time stuff is on when I'm not able to watch it :(.

As far as the BBC and other terrestrial channels are concerned, there's pretty much no such thing as figure skating, with the exception of ITV's Dancing On Ice with Torvill & Dean. You would think the interest in that would prompt the broadcasters to show actual figure skating, but it doesn't seem to have had an effect in that regard.