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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — U.S. Figure Skating and NBC Sports announced today a partnership that will allow NBC Sports and Universal Sports to broadcast the 2009 International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series. NBC Sports will broadcast 12 hours of live and same-weekend taped coverage of five Grand Prix events and the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final. Universal Sports, available in more than 56 million homes, will broadcast more than 50 hours of Grand Prix coverage, including live and near-live taped programming and rebroadcasts of the featured programming that appears on NBC Sports.
The deal, which was made possible after U.S. Figure Skating acquired the rights to the Grand Prix Series from the ISU this summer, marks the first time since 2003 that coverage of nearly all the Grand Prix Series events will appear on network television.
“It was extremely important to U.S. Figure Skating that we pursue every opportunity possible to bring television coverage of the Grand Prix Series back to the loyal fans of figure skating,” said David Raith, U.S. Figure Skating executive director. “Our acquisition of the rights from the ISU and this agreement with NBC and Universal Sports will allow fans of the sport to follow our skaters and their success throughout the Grand Prix season and into the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.”
NBC’s broadcast will feature coverage of the ladies and men’s free skates, while Universal Sports will focus its coverage on pairs, ice dancing and the men’s and ladies short programs. Coupled with the live and on-demand coverage of the entire Grand Prix Series on, fans in the United States will have the most extensive coverage of the ISU Grand Prix Series ever offered.
“This partnership with U.S. Figure Skating to air these premiere Grand Prix events confirms our commitment to bringing the world’s best skaters to NBC Sports and Universal Sports as we lead into the Vancouver Games,” said David Michaels, senior producer, NBC Olympics and executive producer, Universal Sports. “Figure skating is the most popular sport in the Winter Olympics, and these international events allow the fans of competitive figure skating to follow the best as they prepare for Vancouver.”
This new television partnership between U.S. Figure Skating and NBC Sports is the latest in an ongoing relationship between the two parties. NBC has been U.S. Figure Skating’s broadcast partner for Skate America and the U.S. Figure Skating Championships since the 2007-08 season, and an extension of that partnership through 2014 was announced in late August.
In addition to the coverage of the 2009 Grand Prix Series, NBC Sports will broadcast 10 hours, including live, prime-time coverage of the ladies free skate, of the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Jan. 14-24, 2010, in Spokane, Wash. Universal Sports, available in more than 56 million homes, will once again offer additional coverage and re-airs of the U.S. Championships.
“The opportunity to work together on the Grand Prix Series this season is a testament to the strength of the ongoing relationship we have established with NBC Sports and Universal Sports,” Raith said. “Their commitment to figure skating is important to our organization, and we continue to work together to look for new and innovative ways to showcase our athletes and the sport.”
NBC’s broadcast team for the Grand Prix Series will include Andrea Joyce and 2002 Olympic pairs champion (with partner Jamie Salé), David Pelletier.
U.S. Figure Skating is the national governing body for the sport of figure skating in the United States as recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Skating Union. U.S. Figure Skating is comprised of more than 763 member clubs and Basic Skills Programs representing approximately 179,000 members. U.S. Figure Skating is charged with the development of the sport on all levels within the United States including athletes, officials, sanctioning of events and exhibitions, and establishing the rules and guidelines by which the sport is governed.