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NBC to host U.S.
skating championships

NBC to host U.S.
skating championships

The U.S. Figure Skating Championships are headed to NBC in a deal that involves no rights fees for the national governing body.

Instead, the USFSA will split the sale of ad time with NBC and will sell its own sponsorship packages.

Skating ratings have diminished in recent years, and ABC ended its 43-year partnership with the skating organization after the contract ran out this month. The USFSA was collecting $12 million a year in rights fees from ABC and ESPN, which shared programming on the national championships and Skate America.

Both of those events are part of the three-year contract with NBC, which will televise 10 hours of competition and plans to carry live all the finals at nationals. That includes the women's final in prime time.

Under the contract, all finals at nationals will be rescheduled to occur on the weekend. In the past, pairs and men's finals often have been on Thursday or Friday nights.

Skate America will be held October 25-28 in Reading, Pa., and the national championships will be in January in St. Paul, Minn., with NBC airing finals on Saturday and Sunday, January 26-27.

The USFSA was left to scramble for a television partner and must now make up for nearly two thirds of its budget that came from the TV rights. But the tie-in with NBC makes sense because the network has the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, and figure skating is among the most-watched events in the Winter Games.

NBC also will have other media rights to the USFSA events.

''This new partnership with NBC is a perfect fit for U.S. Figure Skating,'' said U.S. Figure Skating president Ron Hershberger. ''Figure skating on NBC will be live, prime time, high-definition, and treated as premier programming.'' (AP)

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