U.S. Figure Skating at a Glance
U.S. Figure Skating is the national governing body for the sport of figure skating in the United States. U.S. Figure Skating is a member of the International Skating Union (ISU), the international federation for figure skating, and is a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC).
U.S. Figure Skating is one of the strongest and fastest growing governing bodies within the Olympic movement with more than 181,500 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 headquarters, located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, 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:
- 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 700 clubs across the country are registered with U.S. Figure Skating, while more than 1,000 programs are registered with Learn to Skate USA nationwide. 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 $18 million. Additional revenue is generated from memberships, the U.S. Figure Skating Memorial Fund, the U.S. Figure Skating Foundation, publications and U.S. Olympic Committee programs.
More than $15 million of the budget was used for athlete funding and assistance in 2015-16, sending athletes to international competitions, athlete programs, collegiate skating programs, synchronized skating programs and awarding performance bonuses. The U.S. Olympic Committee financially supports U.S. Figure Skating athletes though various initiatives.
U.S. Figure Skating on TV
In January 2013, U.S. Figure Skating announced two major media rights agreements that guarantee unprecedented coverage of figure skating in the United States through the 2018 Olympic season. The first was a four-year extension of its broadcast rights agreement with NBC and the second was icenetwork's acquisition of all U.S. media rights for International Skating Union (ISU) events through the 2017-18 season.
Through 2018, NBC Sports will broadcast a minimum of 11 hours of live domestic event coverage, including Skate America and the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. For the 2015-16 season, the network will present two hours from 2015 Skate America and eight hours of the 2016 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships, with two hours in primetime, and two hours of the 2016 Smucker's Skating Spectacular. Universal Sports will also offer re-airs of NBC Sports coverage.
The ISU agreement with icenetwork — a wholly-owned subsidiary of U.S. Figure Skating, operated by MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) — covers multiple distribution platforms and guarantees live coverage of ISU events, including the World Figure Skating Championships, the Four Continents Championships and the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, as well as television coverage on NBC, NBC Sports Network and Universal Sports.
Approximately 20 hours of icenetwork's ISU figure skating rights will be shown on NBC annually, including the World Championships in primetime during non-Olympic years, and the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. Universal Sports will continue to expand its coverage of all ISU events, including the World Championships, European Championships, Four Continents Championships, Grand Prix Series and select speedskating competitions.
Icenetwork's acquisition of ISU event rights was made possible through the cooperative efforts of U.S. Figure Skating, MLBAM, NBC, NBC Sports Network, Universal and Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment, U.S. Figure Skating's sponsorship sales agency partner since 2008.
Olympic Coverage of Figure Skating
Figure skating has arguably the highest visibility of any winter Olympic sport, consistently receiving more primetime broadcast hours than any other sport in national and Olympic television programming.
During the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, the 11 days of figure skating competition were broadcast in primetime. On average, NBC’s primetime broadcast averaged 21.4 million viewers with a 12.3 household rating/20 share.
The 1994 Olympic Winter Games figure skating broadcasts are the highest-rated winter Olympic television programming of all time. The ladies short program from Lillehammer, Norway, had the sixth-highest rating in television history (48.5) and was the third largest of all time for a sporting event, placing behind Super Bowl XVI and Super Bowl XVII.
Through 18 nights of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, NBC Olympics’ coverage was the top-rated program. The Games generated record-setting advantages of 45 percent in viewers, 32 percent in household rating and 51 percent in adults 18-49 over the combined primetime totals of ABC, CBS and FOX.
NBC’s unprecedented coverage of the 2014 Sochi Games attracted 178 million viewers, meaning
three of every four U.S.
television households tuned in to some portion of the Games.
The Feb. 17 primetime broadcast featuring Meryl Davis and Charlie White winning America’s first ice dance Olympic gold medal averaged 23.5 million viewers and a 13.8 household rating/21 share. This resulted in respective 29 percent and 18 percent advantages over the combined primetime viewership and household rating of ABC, CBS and FOX.
A winter Olympics-record 10.8 million hours of video were consumed on NBC Olympics’ digital platforms with NBC Sports Group’s digital platforms amassing a Winter Games record 62 million unique users.
In terms of the most recent Olympics, the 2012 Olympic Games in London, NBC finished with a 17.5 rating and 31.1 million viewers for its 17 nights of taped coverage, making this the best audience for the Summer Games since the 1996 Atlanta Games. In terms of total viewership across NBC properties, the Games drew 219.4 million viewers, setting a record for a U.S. television event. London also marked NBC’s best Olympics in terms of margin of victory over the other three major broadcast TV networks (dating back the 1988 Calgary Winter Games).Who watches figure skating?
U.S. Figure Skating Events
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 600 skaters vying for national titles in five divisions (championship, junior, novice, intermediate, juvenile).
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 up to three years in advance of the event and bidding for other U.S. Figure Skating qualifying competitions takes place up to 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, Washington, 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.
U.S. Figure Skating Records
- *U.S. figure skaters have won more Olympic medals (48) than any other country in history.
- *The U.S. has won at least one figure skating medal in 18 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 191 World Championship medals and 53 World titles.
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.
SKATING is in its 93rd 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 $32.50 within the U.S., $42.50 in Canada and $52.50 for foreign subscriptions.
U.S. Figure Skating Programs
Learn to Skate USA
Learn to Skate USA
, an enhanced iteration of the Basic Skills Program, launched on June 1, 2016, and is the only beginning skating program in the country endorsed by U.S. Figure Skating, USA Hockey, US Speedskating, Special Olympics and the Professional Skaters Association (PSA). The Basic Skills Program was developed in 1968 and, since its inception, has taught more than 2 million people how to skate. Learn to Skate USA leadership expects that rinks will transition to Learn to Skate USA ensuring skaters and their families a seamless transition as they continue their ambition on the ice. Learn to Skate USA is also actively working with rinks nationwide to start new programs.
Athlete Funding/Memorial Fund
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
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.
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.