Can Fantasy Help Figure Skating Reconnect with Fans?

Admit it. You’re a longtime fan of figure skating, but your love has been tested by questionable judging and all-out corruption scandals.

Well, according to folks (or at least this one) who follow the sport much more closely than we here at do, figure skating has made strides in cleaning up the judging process and is reaching out to get fans reinvested. One tool in that reconnection is a new fantasy game.

Canadian figure-skating site has reportedly gathered a small following for its contest, drawing 1,500 registered users for Grand Prix Series Fantasy Challenge.

The game follows the sort of weekly award model that has become increasingly popular in the fantasy football industry over the past couple of years and focuses so far on prizes geared more toward skating’s female-centric audience. Skin-care products, cookware and cosmetics have been among the early giveaways.

Now, figure skating will certainly appeal more to residents of the Great White North, where ice is a way of life rather than something that mostly impedes our driving once a year. Nevertheless, FLW’s fantasy fishing game has showed us that a sport needn’t be the world’s most popular to gain a fantasy following.

Of course, there’s an enormous difference between playing for a million dollars and vying for a home makeover kit.

The key point to take away from this is the use of fantasy in a seemingly unlikely situation to try to engage an audience. For what it’s worth, ESPN used to run figure-skating competitions opposite “Monday Night Football” before taking over MNF. Might the sliver of the sports market that tuned in there be in play for fantasy figure skating?

The skating game gains at least a bit more relevance with the approach of the 2010 winter Olympics in just a few months.


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