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NBC Will Air 2009 World Championships

According to the International Figure Skating Magazine message board, NBC has made a deal to air the 2009 world figure skating championships, which are taking place in Los Angeles, California.

In yet another sign that figure skating is in dire straits, the push for a television network generated controversy, with the ISU president even essentially threatening to move the championships.

A lot of wrangling appears to have gone into striking the deal for the 2009 World Championships. At the 2008 global event, ISU President Ottavio Cinquanta sent an early message to U.S. networks. "Without TV coverage, we cannot assure our contractual obligations," Cinquanta said at his annual press conference.

At the time, he also noted that Los Angeles was awarded the 2009 competition on a "provisional" basis.

Cinquanta’s decision to strong-arm U.S. television executives did not seem to sit well with U.S. Figure Skating officials. A meeting between U.S. Figure Skating President Ron Hershberger, Executive Director David Raith and Cinquanta ensued. After the meeting, both organizations released statements that indicated everyone was now on the same page.

Apparently Cinquanta later backed off the threat to move the championships. NBC is airing Skate America and the U.S. national championships as well, but the Grand Prix contract with ESPN/ABC ran out in the spring, and now the Grand Prix needs a television home. The thing that I like about ABC/ESPN having these contracts is that the competitions will at least get aired on ESPN. NBC doesn't have a sports cable channel that I know of (aside from the special HD channels set up for the Olympics) so I'm wondering how much of the worlds we'll actually get to see.