I know nothing about why - just speculation. I wish there were another sports management entity out there handling figure skaters as professionally as IMG, but if there is, I'm not aware.
What IMG does is manage a figure skater's public persona without the puppet strings showing. They're also clearly partnered up the ass and can facilitate slick, yet professional and effective relationships between and among figure skaters, iconic brands and charities, for everybody's mutual benefit.
They are able to protect the private lives of the figure skaters on their client list without compromising that skater's apparent accessibility or visibility.
Example: We see lots of David Pelletier, do we not? He just won Battle of the Blades and got a flattering edit on that show. He's now frequently quoted saying warm, classy and completely unrevealing (on a personal level) things about Jamie Sale, and his tweets follow suit. These quotes do him nothing but good.
But here's the thing. David Pelletier is actually not, nor has he ever, dated Tessa Virtue. Tessa Virtue isn't available. So if you kick that one to the curb - why the hell did he and Jamie bust up? Who's he dating now? Do he and Jamie really get along or is it professional expedience? Wouldn't he and Jamie have to say more than that press release they issued about their divorce? For God's sake - they're saying they were separated a year and a half and then decided to divorce! Right under our nose for a year and a half - they lied, led us to believe they were happy! They need to explain for God's sake! The public will insist!
Oh you know - actually they don't. Yes, the internet has speculated. But in the broader world of professional opportunity, Jamie and David have sailed on with their high profile in the skating world.The famous duo from 2002, divorcing with a young son, and there's no ugly churn in the mainstream press, and fans ended up taking it in stride. What do we know about their split? Nothing. Just the brief press release.
Who handled it? IMG.
After the tsunami in Japan, there was a skating event/fundraiser in support. As presented in the press, you'd almost let yourself believe that Meryl Davis, Jeff Buttle and Charlie White thought it would be their civic responsibility, as members of the international community, to organize an event that would raise both funds and morale. Man, someone brought up those figure skaters the right way. They're so professional and mature, never put a foot wrong.
True - but who was behind that event? IMG.
IMG kept its fingerprints (mostly) off - at least it didn't elbow its own brand to the forefront. It highlighted the skaters and the cause. IMG didn't come running at you like a hyperactive Shih Tzu barking "IMG IMG IMG IMG!!!"* Yet despite this, IMG is still somehow, I feel sure, able to make a dollar.
So here are my questions.
Why did Tessa and Scott turn to David Pelletier for mentorship when Pelletier doesn't even mentor himself? He's with IMG!
Why did their four-year Roots deal end almost before it started?
Why the fuck is Joanne Rochette with IMG, and Weaver & Poje! with IMG - and Meryl and Charlie - but not the Olympic champions who are young and gorgeous - whose competition clips get thousands of hits moments after they're uploaded on youtube?
Maybe Scott and Tessa ARE with IMG and this is one instance where IMG is screwing it up? Hey Scott and Tessa - do a kitschy Toyota commercial in Japan! (That commercial kept tumblr in stitches for days.) Sign that totally honest book of yours in London - a year after its publication. Show up at random fashion shows.
Well, at least they got a couple of Audis. Maybe they don't care about image - they just want the swag?
ETA: thinking back to just after the Olympics, Tessa mentioned that she and Scott would sort of organically be testing the business waters, seeing what connections could be developed during the tour and summer training season. It didn't register at the time, but if they were signed with an entity like IMG, there would be no need for them to test the waters. IMG would be bringing the mountain to Mohammed. It's weird that Tessa seemed to be saying she and Scott would be sort of learning and fishing around - even if she was lying, which as we all know, is not beyond her.
Are there conditions to handling Scott and Tessa that neither IMG nor Roots want to handle with a ten-foot pole? Murky, amateurish, ethically sketchy, stupid conditions, so the two sides can't come to terms?
I struggle to believe that, simply because the bottom line i$ the bottom line, and whatever the conditions, a monolith like IMG should be able to manage them and find the right approach. But at the same time, corporations need to protect themselves, and Scott, Tessa and SC do wade around in some pretty unprofessional, unethical, amateur-hour waters and are dogged about sticking with it.
Will Barb (eh) or more to the point - DEBBI - be out of a job if Tessa and Scott get actual professionals to handle their business? Maybe Debbi gave someone a kidney?
Debbi shows up on Skatebuzz when Canadian competitions hove into view on the schedule, but does that justify her SC salary? Clearly, the lady ain't doing any marketing. Clearly, Skate Canada's Marketing, Public Relations and Communications department is the equivalent of a couple of church volunteers with a mimeograph machine.
Yet, I'm sure they get salaries and benefits.What if Scott and Tessa went with IMG? What would Debbi and Barb do with themselves in the long working hours Debbi was not putting her mug on camera and Barb wasn't slipping sham mentions into SC material and if they weren't planning and coordinating sham incursions?
Skate Canada "optimistically' believes it will have a title sponsor once more by next year (or right after next season) - after losing long term title sponsors directly after a home Olympics in which homegrown ice dancers became the first North American and youngest Olympic gold medalists ever. And let's not pretend that a big reason SC got all up in Scott and Tessa's personal business wasn't because Scott and Tessa were going to be their sponsor draw after the Olympics. Sexy, sweet, charming kids like that with all that charisma, all that talent AND a gold medal won at home on Canadian soil? After Vancouver, Skate Canada would be able to name its terms with an army of sponsors competing to come on board.
Surely its existing sponsors wouldn't do a bolt and potential sponsors fail to return their calls.
It's not the economy, Bill Thompson. Skate Canada made a wrong turn somewhere, and keeps expecting Scott and Tessa to turn it around. And actually, with professional management, a rising tide would lift all boats. IMG might have only Scott and Tessa's interests in mind, were Scott and Tessa to join IMG's roster, but the pay-off of a really effective promotional strategy behind Scott and Tessa would be greater fan willingness to pay to come and see Scott and Tessa compete in Canada, and a whole bunch of sponsors, who already do business with IMG, might be more comfortable associating with Skate Canada.
So what is it we're not seeing that prevents Scott and Tessa from joining IMG? Protecting Debbi's job? Is that fair to the up-and-coming skaters struggling for financing? Are there conditions of managing Scott and Tessa that are beyond IMG's comfort level?
Scott and Tessa ARE with IMG but IMG only sucks at managing only them?
What? Is all this stuff linked? Debbi's job - or her getting it in the first place - the position Scott and Tessa were anticipated to have in Canadian figure skating, the launch of the sham, the commitment to the status quo, the piss poor pr and marketing, Scott and Tessa's absolutely push-button personas, and the evaporation of not just title sponsors, but sponsors for individual skaters?
When it's this bad, and nothing is done about it, yeah, it might be an "our crowd" thing and complacency, but usually a financial problem gets people off their ass, or the people in charge start feeling pressure from the rank and file - in this case, parents of figure skaters coming up, perhaps. Yet nothing. When there's a problem and no movement to correct it, somebody's covering their ass. The way people cover their ass is to continue doing what they're doing, as changing course is considered an admission they fucked up.
So this is a wonderful situation.
*Unlike, say, Skate Canada.