PSA Most Memorable Moment No. 68


August 1, 2012

   In The Loop Issue #4 Extended Articles
U.S. Professional Championships sponsored by the PSGA. The event, chaired by David Lowery, was held in Philadelphia, PA, February 21-22, 1981 and featured some of the top skaters of the time, reigning World Professional Champion, Scott Cramer, Stacey Smith & John Summers, and Sheryl Franks & Michael Botticelli. The top three finishers represented the U.S. at the World Professional Championships in Jaca, Spain.

The U.S. Open Professional Championships was first shown on ESPN in 1988, and continuing until 1995 on CBS, USA, and TBS. In 1995 when the ISU introduced the ISU Champions Series, which would later change its name to the Grand Prix of Figure Skating, it was a severe blow to the long established pro competitions like the U.S. Open, the World Professional Ice Skating Championships in Jaca, Spain and to another popular skating event, Candid Productions “The World Professional Championships.” Around the millennium, Nielsen ratings for professional skating competitions were declining and the TV networks were shifting towards a time-buy model. Prior to this model being introduced, producers would shop the rights to their programs, with most production expenses being picked up by the network. There was little risk for the producers as they got paid whether the network could sell the advertising or not. With the time-buy model, the producers would purchase the air time, pay for the production, and sell the ad space; they assumed all the risk and made less revenue.

The U.S. Open did not have a television contract for 1996 but with their partner, Sports Marketing Marque Group, was broadcast on UPN in ’97 and NBC in ’98. There was no 1999 U.S. Open, as the Marque Group paid the PSA $100,000 and walked away, being bought by SFX for $100 million.

Watch the Technical Program’s of Grezgorz Filipowski and Doug Mattis at the 1994 U.S. Open Pro Figure Skating Championships