IMG, U.S. Figure Skating partnering on tour for the first time
U.S. Figure Skating and IMG are partnering on a post-Olympics tour that will bring figure skaters from the Sochi Games to 25 to 30 cities next year.
The tour marks the first time U.S. Figure Skating and IMG have collaborated on a tour. IMG created its Stars on Ice in 1986 to promote its client, Scott Hamilton, and has run the tour independently since then. But the success of last year’s USA Gymnastics tour, which generated $15 million in revenue after the London Games, and the addition of a team figure skating competition to the Sochi Games made USFS and IMG representatives believe that working together would benefit both companies.
“The team event changes the game a bit,” said USFS chief marketer Ramsey Baker. “The American public gets excited about something new and something new that the U.S. has a chance to win. You can only capitalize on that type of momentum once, and we wanted to be sure we worked in unison to do that.”
Byron Allen, IMG senior vice president, added, “Stars on Ice had been featuring past [figure skating] stars and we need to get the current crop of skaters to participate. This is the way to do it.”
USFS and IMG will share sponsorship, ticket and merchandising revenue from the tour.
Van Wagner, USFS’s agency of record, will oversee sponsorship sales and plans to look for a title sponsor as well as supporting sponsors. Existing USFS sponsors will be able to buy into the tour for an incremental fee.
IMG typically averages 8,000 to 10,000 spectators per stop on its Stars on Ice tour. It hopes the partnership with USFS helps it sell tickets to some of the organization’s 600 member clubs.
USFS plans to host free skate clinics in each market it visits. Those clinics will be run by USFS coaches and attended by Olympic figure skaters.
“It allows us to reinforce the U.S. Figure Skating brand and bring new people to the sport,” Baker said.