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ISU FIGURE SKATING COMPETITION PLANS TRIPPED UP BY ABC?
Published October 28, 1998
Due to "pressure" from ABC, the Int'l Skating Federation (ISF) "once again has suspended sanctions for some open events that were to include Olympic-eligible and ineligible skaters," according to Philip Hersh of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. The Challenge of Champions on November 6 will be the first event affected, meaning that eligible skaters such as Nicole Bobek, who is scheduled to compete, "would lose eligibility by skating in the event." Michelle Kwan, who is scheduled to skate in the World Professional Championships on December 11, would also be affected by the ISF's latest ruling. ABC recently signed a 10-year, $100M deal with the USFSA and a five-year, $60M deal with the Int'l Skating Union (ISU) and the network "expected those deals would include exclusivity for competitions involving eligible skaters" such as Bobek and Kwan. It "felt it no longer was getting its money's worth" when those skaters were allowed to compete in open events on Fox, NBC and Turner Sports. Hersh added that though the ISU "endorsed the opens to provide stars enough moneymaking opportunities so they would stay eligible," it "failed to consider the impact" of the opens on its Grand Prix series for eligible- only skaters and on ABC (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 10/27).