NBC Sports and U.S. Figure Skating Announce Multiyear Partnership

(4/23/07) - NBC Sports and U.S. Figure Skating today 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, an Olympic-style international figure skating event. 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.

“This new partnership with NBC is a perfect fit for U.S. Figure Skating,” U.S. Figure Skating President Ron Hershberger said. “Figure skating on NBC will be live, primetime, high definition and treated as premier programming. The invaluable exposure will also include marketing and media rights, and, in working with NBC, direct control over our product and sponsor relationships.”

Chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics Dick Ebersol said: “As America's Olympic Network, we are proud to partner with U.S. Figure Skating and broadcast this marquee event. Figure skating is the single most popular event in the Winter Olympics, and the U.S. Championships will be one of the building blocks of our coverage as we lead into the Vancouver Winter Games.”

This initial three-year partnership will run through the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

The schedule for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships has been re-formatted so that all finals will be on the weekend and shown live. The date for the final night of the championships has been confirmed, so it will not compete with NFL playoff coverage. Saturday night's ladies free skate will feature the top 10-12 competitors.

The U.S. Figure Skating Championships, held annually since 1914, is the nation's most prestigious figure skating event. The 2008 competition will take place at the Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minn., and be broadcast on NBC Saturday afternoon and evening, Jan. 26, and Sunday afternoon, Jan. 27. Coverage of the event will include seven live hours of senior-level competition in ladies and men's singles, pairs and ice dancing, with three hours in primetime plus an extra hour of the “Skating Spectacular” (exhibition performance by the champions). The 2008 U.S. Championships will in part serve to select the 2008 U.S. Team for the World Championships.

Skate America, which in 2007 takes place in Reading, Pa., will be featured during a live, two-hour broadcast on NBC Sunday, Oct. 28. The event is an Olympic-style international figure skating event featuring three days of competition in ladies and men's singles, pairs and ice dancing. The event attracts more than 60 world-class figure skaters from approximately 12 countries. Past champions include five-time World and nine-time U.S. champion Michelle Kwan, 2006 Olympic ice dancing silver medalists Tanith Belbin & Ben Agosto, 2006 Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen, 1992 Olympic champion Kristi Yamaguchi and 1984 Olympic champion Scott Hamilton.

“This new partnership with NBC provides U.S. Figure Skating with a new and broader platform for U.S. Figure Skating and our athletes than ever before,” U.S. Figure Skating Executive Director David Raith said. “Between NBC's broadband platform and U.S. Figure Skating's icenetwork.com, the events will be covered in their entirety for the first time ever. On top of that, we'll retain control of our marketing and media rights, allowing us to see direct benefits from our product and our sponsor relationships. As far as value, the sky's the limit.”

Read more details about the partnership here.