There apparently have been some rumors floating around that the yearly Grand Prix event held in Paris (Trophy Eric Bompard) is to be no more. There are further rumors and conjecture that a new event to replace it will be in Korea.
I have no evidence to confirm or deny any of this...this is just what I'm hearing.
This got me thinking about Grand Prix events as a whole. While Figure Skating is certainly booming in Asia, it still seems a bit lopsided to have three events there and only one in Europe should they make that decision. It just doesn't seem fair. On Twitter, one person did remark, "When has anything the ISU has ever done, been accomplished under a 'Fairness' doctrine? Watch them go with Korea!"
Then I thought how unfair it is really that 6 countries get Grand Prix events every single year. They don't do this for the Junior Grand Prix, why do we do it for the Senior Grand Prix?
What do you think of my two year Grand Prix Schedule (this is of course fictional):
Skate America - Boston, Massachussetts
Skate Australia - Brisbane, Australia
Skate Italy - Milan, Italy
NHK Trophy - Sapporo, Japan
Skate Mexico - Mexico City, Mexico
Skate Korea - Seoul, S. Korea
Skate South Africa - Durban, S. Africa
Cup of China - Beijing, China
Skate Canada - Calgary, Canada
Rostelecom Cup - St. Petersburg, Russia
Skate Finland - Kuopio, Finland
Skate New Zealand - Auckland, New Zealand
Every year, six events are chosen that hop around the world giving more global exposure to figure skating. What a prospect.
Of course, I know the answer to my previous question...it's all about money. In order to do a globe hopping Senior Grand Prix where all the big stars are skating, the ISU would need to be sure it could generate some cash flow and sponsorship to do it. Can New Zealand bring in the same kind of cash as say Japan...not likely.
The solution, I think, is to be more privatized and less localized with how events are sponsored. Instead of US Figure Skating looking for a title sponsor for Skate America (such as Cancer.Net), the ISU could name 6 big sponsors each year (say for example Samsung, Visa, RBS, Ferrari, Toyota, and Microsoft) and work with them to find a location capable of supporting an event. You give the sponsor the choice in expanding their advertisement reach while being more flexible and expansive in delivering world class figure skating. Giving the big sponsor a voice in the event location could be a bargaining chip in lowering the price of nabbing such a huge sponsor.
I'm a numbers guy...this could work!
The only hurdle left would be Member Federations fighting to keep their annual events. How much of the proceeds from Skate America make up the annual operating budget for US Figure Skating. Might be hard to get the ISU Congress which is heavily controlled by those nations with yearly Grand Prix Events to give them up.