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U.S. Figure Skating at a Glance
U.S. Figure Skating is one of the strongest and fastest growing governing bodies within the Olympic movement with more than 180,000 members. It is comprised of member clubs, collegiate clubs, school-affiliated clubs and individual members. The charter member clubs numbered seven in 1921 when the association was formed and first became a member of the ISU.
U.S. Figure Skating's national headquarters, located in Colorado Springs, Colo., is also home to the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame, which is toured by more than 7,000 visitors annually.
More than 1,000 volunteers serve on U.S. Figure Skating's Board of Directors and numerous committees. Thousands of additional volunteers dedicate their time to club activities, judging, officiating and competition management.
U.S. Figure Skating membership has steadily increased throughout the past 15 years:
- Total membership (U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills and regular membership combined) for 1988-89 surpassed 64,000 members.
- 1991-92 marked the first year membership hit the 100,000 total with 102,647
- 1992-93 exceeded 110,000
- 1993-94 saw an increase of 15,000 to surpass 125,000
- 2005-06 saw U.S. Figure Skating set a membership record with more than 196,000
More than 680 clubs and 1,000 U.S. Figure Skating Basic Skills programs with representation from border to border are registered with U.S. Figure Skating. U.S. Figure Skating Headquarters will process an average of 5,300 figure skating skills tests every month throughout the season.
U.S. Figure Skating operates on an estimated annual budget of $12.8 million. Additional revenue is generated from U.S. Figure Skating and Basic Skills memberships, the U.S. Figure Skating Memorial Fund, the U.S. Figure Skating Foundation, publications and U.S. Olympic Committee programs.
The United States Olympic Committee financially supports U.S. Figure Skating athletes as well through the High Performance funding programs and Operation Gold.
More than $7 million of the budget was used for athlete funding and assistance in 2010-11, sending athletes to international competitions, athlete programs, collegiate skating programs, synchronized skating programs, and awarding performance bonuses. This number represents roughly two-thirds of the total budget.
- 2010-11 Financial Audit Report (PDF)
- 2011-12 Financial Audit Report (PDF)
- 2012-13 Financial Audit Report (PDF)
In 1994, U.S. Figure Skating and ABC Sports became marketing partners - an unprecedented arrangement between a national governing body and a television network. U.S. Figure Skating extended its television contract with ABC Sports in 1999 through the 2006-07 season. The contract brought U.S. Figure Skating approximately $100 million, which benefited skating programs throughout the United States.
During the 2002 U.S. Championships, about 2.99 million households were tuned into ABC Family for the ladies free skate. That added up to a 3.45 rating, making it the most-viewed skating event ever shown on cable television. Past TV viewing audiences have numbered as large as 16 million households for a single session, and live coverage of the 2001 U.S. Championships ladies final was seen in six million households nationwide.
During the 2002-03 season, ABC Sports produced 14 shows featuring U.S. skaters, totaling more than 40 hours and reaching more than 47 million homes (not including ESPN or ESPN2 ratings). ESPN and ESPN2 also featured figure skating.
Figure skating arguably has the highest visibility of any Olympic sport, consistently receiving higher television ratings and more broadcast hours than other major sports in both national and Olympic television programming.
During the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, total broadcasts averaged a 19.9 rating with the ladies free skate broadcast receiving a 29.0 rating/42 share.
Figure skating broadcasts from the 1994 Olympic Winter Games are the highest-rated Olympic television programming of all time. The ladies short program from Lillehammer had the sixth-highest rating in television history (48.5), placing behind the final episode of "M*A*S*H" and the finale of the "Roots" mini-series.
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In April 2007, NBC Sports and U.S. Figure Skating announced a multiyear partnership under which NBC will broadcast live high-definition coverage of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, including Saturday night primetime coverage of the ladies free skate, as well as Skate America. The unique partnership includes 10 hours of event coverage and various marketing and broadband rights, highlighted by additional live event coverage on NBCSports.com and U.S. Figure Skating's icenetwork.com.
U.S. Figure Skating and NBC Sports will continue their multi-year partnership through the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. The agreement ensures live primetime and afternoon coverage of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, as well as live afternoon coverage of Skate America, part of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating, through the fall of 2013.
The partnership includes 10 hours of live event coverage on NBC Sports during the 2011-12 season, including live primetime coverage of the ladies free skate at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. Universal Sports, available in more than 60 million homes, will once again offer re-airs of NBC Sports coverage of Skate America and the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
U.S. Figure Skating, NBC Sports and Universal Sports will also partner to provide 10 additional hours of coverage of the 2011 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating on NBC Sports. Universal Sports will offer additional live and taped coverage and re-airs of NBC programming. Icenetwork.com and universalsports.com will complement the television coverage by providing live and on-demand coverage of the entire ISU Grand Prix Series online.
Who watches figure skating?
- As a sport, figure skating has the largest fan base of females 12 and older. These fans prefer to watch skating over the NFL, MLB, NBA and college football.
- Figure skating has the fifth-largest fan base of people (male and female) 12 and older. (Only the NFL, MLB, NCAA football and NCAA basketball rank higher.)
- Figure skating ranked third in the Fan Intensity Index (percentage of fans who consider themselves avid).
- 65% of females over 12 consider themselves figure skating fans.
- 75% of women over 55 consider themselves figure skating fans.
- 68% of figure skating fans have college degrees.
- 52% of figure skating fans own a personal computer.
- Median household income of figure skating fans is approximately $90,000.
- 34% have household incomes of more than $100,000.
- 42% have household incomes of more than $75,000.
More than 1,300 events, which include performances, exhibitions and competitions, are sanctioned by U.S. Figure Skating each year.
The nine regional competitions, followed by three sectional competitions, begin the pipeline of U.S. Figure Skating's qualifying competitions, which lead top athletes to U.S., World and Olympic levels. In the past eight years, approximately 20,000 figure skaters have competed at the regional level.
In addition to the many club, regional and sectional competitions, U.S. Figure Skating conducts the U.S. Figure Skating Championships and Skate America. Skate America is one of the six prestigious events included in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series.
The U.S. Championships are the premier event conducted each year by U.S. Figure Skating. The competition features more than 250 skaters vying for national titles in three divisions (senior, junior and novice).
The U.S. Championships are typically held for 10 days in January. Bidding to become a host city of the U.S. Championships takes place three years in advance of the event, and bidding for other U.S. Figure Skating qualifying competitions takes place two years in advance. Clubs vying for any event must meet event requirements and venue specifications to be eligible.
The 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships, held at Spokane Arena in Spokane, Wash., produced a record-setting attendance of 158,170 spectators throughout the week. The sellout crowds beat the previous record set at the 2007 State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships held at Spokane Arena in Spokane, Wash., by approximately 25,000 tickets sold.
The U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships debuted in 1995 with 421 entries competing in 626 starts. The 2011 U.S. Adult Championships were held in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- U.S. figure skaters have won more Olympic medals (46) than any other country in history.
- The U.S. has won at least one figure skating medal in 17 consecutive Olympic Winter Games, dating back to 1948 when Dick Button won his first Olympic gold medal.
- Figure skaters representing the United States have won 185 World Championship medals and 52 World titles.
- Michelle Kwan is the most decorated U.S. figure skater in the history of the sport. Kwan has claimed a total of 9 World medals (5 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze), 9 U.S. titles and two Olympic medals (1 silver, 1 bronze).
- Timothy Goebel became the first man in history to complete three quadruple jumps in one program when he accomplished the feat at Skate America '99 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
SKATING is the official publication of U.S. Figure Skating and is considered one of the premier magazines in the world of figure skating today. SKATING is a three-time recipient of the Edi Award for Skating Publication of the Year, awarded by the Professional Skaters Association (PSA).
SKATING boasts a subscription list of nearly 42,000 and a readership of more than 130,000.
The magazine, which is published 11 times per year, is a full-color, newsstand-quality publication available to all U.S. Figure Skating members and subscribers. In October 2008, U.S. Figure Skating launched a new magazine titled Basic Skills Edition of SKATING. This one-time-a-year publication is mailed to U.S. Figure Skating's 120,000-plus Basic Skills members as part of their Basic Skills membership.
SKATING is in its 88th year of publication and features news and profiles on national skaters, reports on national, international and Olympic events, columns on health and fitness, sponsor news, event schedules and ticket information. The magazine also covers all levels of skating from grass roots to adult and synchronized skating.
SKATING is also part of U.S. Figure Skating Online. In addition to highlights from the current issue, past issues of SKATING magazine are available in the archive area.
Annual SKATING magazine subscriptions are available for $27.50 within the U.S., $37.50 in Canada and $47.50 for foreign subscriptions.
The Basic Skills Program is designed by U.S. Figure Skating to be the best beginning ice skating program that serves the needs of both the recreational and the competitive skater. For more information on learning how to skate, visit the Basic Skills page.
Athlete Funding/Memorial Fund
Throughout the 2011-12 season, U.S. Figure Skating will distribute more than $1 million to its athletes through training grants and financial assistance. The funding, which is distributed through the Athlete Support Program (ASUPP) and Memorial Fund, will reach all levels of U.S. figure skaters - juvenile-level skaters to U.S. World Team members. Visit the athlete funding area for more information.
Synchronized team skating is a growing discipline in figure skating. It is a highly technical form of team skating characterized by speed, accuracy, intricate formations and breathtaking transitions typically performed by teams of 8-20 skaters. Visit the synchronized skating area for more information.
Adult figure skating has shown tremendous growth in the past several years. U.S. Figure Skating sanctioned the 16th U.S. Adult Championships in 2011, and the ISU sanctioned the first world competition in 2005. Adult skating is for any skater of any level over the age of 21. Visit the adult skating area for more information.
The U.S. Collegiate Championships, founded in 1985, is the longest running of all the collegiate programs. Collegiate synchronized skating is a growing area of collegiate skating. Visit the collegiate area of the website for more information.
Intercollegiate team figure skating is the fastest-growing part of collegiate figure skating. It creates a way for a typically individual sport to be done as a team and allows skaters the chance to be a part of a collegiate club sport. The first intercollegiate competitions were held in 1997, and approximately 39 colleges and universities participated in 2011.
U.S. Figure Skating Online continues to grow and provide the latest news and information on the sport in the U.S.
The site receives more than 10,000 hits daily, and at the peak of the competitive season, that number rises to as much as 25,000. During the ladies free skate at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, the site recorded more than 83,000 visits.
Ice Network, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of U.S. Figure Skating which has the exclusive rights to U.S. Figure Skating's interactive media properties and is a partnership between U.S. Figure Skating and MLB Advanced Media, was launched in August 2007. Icenetwork.com is the premier destination for fans of ice skating, delivering exclusive live and on-demand coverage of domestic and international competitions while offering fans the opportunity to stay updated with news and information from the world of ice skating year round.