The Bottom Line:
- Icenetwork.com provides very thorough and complete figure skating coverage.
- Many figure skating events are covered by icenetwork.
- The cost of icenetwork.com's yearly Season Pass is quite reasonable.
- Icenetwork videos do not always work with slow internet connections.
- Live or on-demand videos are not available for some international skating events.
- Customers do not like paying an extra fee for competitions such as the World Figure Skating Championships or Four Continents Figure Skating Championships.
- Almost all customers who deal with icenetwork's customer service department have complaints.
- Icenetwork's billing customer service is especially poor.
- Icenetwork.com is a subsidiary of U.S. Figure Skating and is a joint venture between U.S. Figure Skating and MLB Advanced Media.
- Most of the photos and articles on the icenetwork.com website may be viewed without a subscription fee.
- Icenetwork.com has exclusive rights to U.S. Figure Skating's events.
- Some of icenetwork's video coverage is live, but most of the icenetwork videos are viewed on-demand.
- The icenetwork site includes access to message boards and to an online store.
- Photos and news stories are added regularly to the icenetwork site.
- Information is available about U.S. and international elite figure skaters.
- The icenetwork site includes a calendar of upcoming figure skating events.
- Commenting and video analysis is done for some of the figure skating events filmed by icenetwork.
- U.S. Figure Skating passes billing customer service issues on to icenetwork.com's customer service department. Icenetwork's customer service department is not staffed by those familiar with figure skating.
About.com Guide Review - Review of icenetwork.com's Customer Service Department:
To view most of icenetwork's video programs, a yearly Season Pass subscription must be purchased; however, most of the photos and articles on the site may be viewed free of charge. The icenetwork "Season Pass" includes coverage of the U.S. Figure Skating qualifying competition season, the U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, and the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships. In addition, icenetwork subscribers are able to see live and on-demand videos from Skate America and made for TV ice skating specials. The price of the yearly subscription is only $39.95. At certain times of the year, discounts are available to U.S. Figure Skating club members.
During the summer of 2012, US Figure Skating members received an email stating that US Figure Skating's members would receive a $20 discount on their icenetwork.com Season Pass. Members were notified that subscriptions were only $19.95. With the cost of figure skating being so expensive, it can be assumed that US Figure Skating members appreciated hearing the news of the $20 discount.
There was a note at the bottom of the email that stated the following:
- "*If you are a current U.S. Figure Skating member and you are auto-renewed at the full price of $39.95, we apologize in advance for the inconvenience. Please call icenetwork.com Customer Service at 866.464.8499 and they will verify your membership status and refund $20 to your credit card."
When some US Figure Skating members called icenetwork.com's customer service toll-free number, the issue of the credit was not resolved immediately. There were reports of fans and skaters being put on hold for periods of over thirty minutes to one hour. The customer service agents on icenetwork's end were not aware of the email blast that had been sent to US Figure Skating members, and would not grant the credit without investigation.
Some patrons reported being transferred and being put on hold for two to three hours and still had no promise of receiving the discount promotion. US Figure Skating did step in when customers called US Figure Skating Headquaarters. Eventually, the poor icenetwork customer service issues were resolved temporarily.
Billing issues seem to be common with icenetwork's customer service. Another problem is that not all computers and internet connections work well with the icenetwork service. Some subscribers complain that they don't see complete streaming videos; instead they hear only voice and see video stills. These issues have made the service very disappointing for some ice skating fans.
When users call or email icenetwork's customer service for help, they report that some issues are never resolved. Many ice skating fans have stopped using icenetwork altogether because of customer service related issues.
Other users complain that access to on-demand videos may take some time. For example, on-demand videos from certain competitions were made available about two weeks after some of the events. Other users notice that certain skaters are featured on the service more than others.
Although customer service issues with icenetwork have annoyed and disappointed some users, those praising icenetwork especially enjoy the feature articles and photo galleries that are on the site. Many have learned much about figure skating and its history through icenetwork.com.
Figure skating may have lost some fans in the United States due to issues related to icenetwork's poor customer service, but many fans will say that for $39.95 a year, icenetwork.com is a pretty good deal. It is hoped that the problem with customer service and billing will be resolved so that everyone who loves figure skating can enjoy the service icenetwork provides.