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DISNEY LOVES ITS ICE SPORTS: ABC TO AIR SKATING THROUGH 2007
Published April 17, 1997
The U.S. Figure Skating Association (USFSA) has extended its contract with ABC Sports through the 2006-7 season. ABC Sports will continue to televise five USFSA events including the U.S. Figure Skating Championships for the next ten years (USFSA). ABC's current deal with the USFSA ran through '99, but the network "anticipated a heated bidding war," according to Stephen Battaglio of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. ABC Sports VP/Programming Lydia Stephans says the network paid a "substantial" increase in rights fees for the property. The deal gives ABC worldwide TV rights and allows USFSA events to be aired on ESPN and ESPN2. Stephans adds ABC will be able to sell marketing and sponsorship opportunities to advertisers "wherever the broadcasts air." Battaglio notes the USFSA will "also get the marketing clout" of Disney to "cross-promote and distribute the association's events. One possibility is Disney staging USFSA events at its theme parks if they provide skating facilities (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 4/17).