Champions On Ice
Hello everyone! I have been asked by so many, is Champions On Ice over? Yes it is. Please see the below article. What does this mean for me? Nothing too major, I will just be able to skate the shows that were offered to me and I couldn’t because they conflicted with COI's schedule. Who knows, maybe I'll find some major sponsors and produce my own fun, comedic tour! So if anyone has an ear of big sponsors and corporations give me a shout! :)
Be well guys,
Stars will tour, with an assist from Champions
Updated: January 26, 2008, 1:02 AM ET
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- It's all about the Stars for figure skating's tours.
Champions on Ice has canceled its tour, and its owners are instead forming a partnership with Smucker's Stars on Ice, The Associated Press has learned. The tours are not merging, but are combining resources in hopes of creating a stronger, more lucrative show.
"It's no secret that skating is going through one of its cycles right now," said Eric Stevens, president of events and media for Anschutz Entertainment Group, owner of Champions on Ice.
"It just seems to make a lot of sense that, instead of going out and competing with each other for the fan base and out in the marketplace, to combine efforts and solidify the position of skating. Instead of saying, `We're going to slug it out and see who survives."
The Stars tour will feature older, fan favorites as it always has -- Olympic silver medalist Sasha Cohen and former world champion Todd Eldredge headline this year's tour -- but will add more of the eligible and up-and-coming skaters who were a staple of Champions on Ice.
The 40-city U.S. tour begins Jan. 31, and runs through April.
"This is the way to go, it really is," said Tom Collins, who created Champions and remains involved despite selling it to AEG in 2006. "At this moment, at this time, it's best to have one show on the road."
Rumors about Champions' future have swirled for months because it never released a 2008 schedule, and some media reports had the two tours combining. But the principals of AEG and IMG, which owns Stars, told the AP that is not the case.
AEG will retain the rights to Champions, but will help IMG with marketing, promotion and ticket sales for Stars. Because AEG owns about two dozen arenas in the United States -- including the Staples Center in Los Angeles and the Hartford Civic Center -- it also will help IMG and Stars with booking, allowing the tour to return to certain cities on the same dates each year.
"It is better to have one financially strong tour than to have a couple that are struggling," said Byron Allen, the producer of Stars on Ice. "In some markets, the two tours were beating their heads against each other. They were both on sale at the same time and forcing the consumer to choose, and both shows were often advertising on the same local stations.
"It was just leading to confusion in the marketplace, and that should not happen now."
Champions began in 1969 as a small, 15-city tour and eventually grew into the sport's most attended production, appearing in as many as 85 cities in Olympic years. Most of the skaters on the tour remained eligible -- Michelle Kwan was the headliner for years -- and skaters did individual routines.
Stars was started by Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton in 1986, and it's more of a theatrical production, with ensemble numbers as well as individual performances.
"Stars on Ice has a tradition of creativity and group numbers, and themes which are quite unique," said Jay Ogden, senior vice president at IMG. "We've been at this now for 22 years, and each year, we're able to basically reinvent ourselves. This year's show is no exception."
There was plenty of room for two figure skating tours -- three or four, even -- in the golden era that followed the Tonya-Nancy fiasco. But skating is in the midst of a major transition these days. It is still trying to find its next big star, someone who can generate interest on and off the ice like Kwan did.
There is more competition for fans' attention, too, and the economy makes any kind of big production a tougher sell.
"That was a special era for me and a lot of skaters. Now it's time for a change," Collins said. "All these new kids coming up, it's a whole new breed of talent. Now we've got to get them out there and get them out in front of the public.
"We've got some real talent," Collins added. "It might take another year or so to get them to forefront, but I think it's there, I really do. They'll do very well and continue the legacy of the ice skating tours."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press