Spokane Announced as Host City for Inaugural Team Challenge Cup

(9/23/15) - U.S. Figure Skating and Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment (VWSE) announced Wednesday the selection of Spokane Arena in Spokane, Washington, as the host venue for the 2016 Team Challenge Cup, set for April 22-24, 2016. Team Challenge Cup (#TeamChallengeCup) is an ISU-sanctioned three-day event that will feature 42 of the top figure skaters in the world competing in a continental team competition (Team North America vs. Team Europe vs. Team Asia).

Each Team will consist of three ladies, three men, two pairs teams and two ice dance teams. ISU World Standings (as of Jan. 1, 2016) will be used to determine the first invitees to the 2016 Team Challenge Cup. The top two singles skaters (ladies and men) and top two pairs and ice dance teams from each continent (and from different countries) will be invited to compete. The final singles athletes will be invited based on a fan vote. Teams will compete for more than $500,000 in prize money.

"Continuing to build on our great relationship with Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment, we are thrilled to return to Spokane and are confident the city will rally around the inaugural Team Challenge Cup the way they have done for previous figure skating events," Sam Auxier, president, U.S. Figure Skating, said. "The team format has proven to be a very successful way to engage the fans of figure skating and with an international field featuring the top skaters in the world, we know the 2016 Team Challenge Cup will truly be a special event."

A Legend of the Sport will captain each team. The Team Captain will not compete in the event, but will be involved in nominating skaters for the fan vote and determining team strategy. American Kristi Yamaguchi, the 1992 Olympic champion, and Great Britain's Christopher Dean, the 1984 Olympic ice dance champion with partner Jayne Torvill, will captain Team North America and Team Europe, respectively. Team Asia's captain will be announced at a later date.

"I am extremely honored to be selected as captain of Team North America," Yamaguchi said. "As a competitor I never had the opportunity to compete in a team competition like the Team Challenge Cup and I am excited to experience the camaraderie that I witnessed during the team event of the Sochi Olympics with some of the most talented young skaters in the world."

Team Challenge Cup will feature two days of competition (tentative schedule below). Friday's Singles Short Program will feature the ladies and men performing short programs for the distinction of Singles Short Program champion (team and individual). Saturday's Singles and Team Free Skate segments will feature an aggregate scoring format to determine the 2016 Team Challenge Cup champion.

Team Challenge Cup will be made possible through the cooperative efforts of U.S. Figure Skating and VWSE, U.S. Figure Skating's sponsorship sales agency since 2008. VWSE will sell worldwide advertising and sponsorship opportunities associated with the event, while U.S. Figure Skating will manage all competition-related logistics. Both companies will contribute their expertise and resources in all other facets of the Team Challenge Cup.

"We are thrilled to partner with U.S. Figure Skating in the creation, development and execution of this event," said VWSE Executive Vice President Chris Pearlman. "Our unique relationship with U.S. Figure Skating makes the joint effort in producing the Team Challenge Cup a wonderful next step in our partnership. Our involvement in the event also epitomizes the direction that VWSE is taking toward ownership of properties that allow us to bring to bear our vast array of internal resources."

Team Challenge Cup will air domestically on CBS from 1-3 p.m. ET on Sunday, April 24. The entire event will be streamed live on icenetwork. Additional television partners and a detailed broadcast schedule will be announced at a later date.

Major figure skating competition returns to Spokane for the first time since 2010. The 2007 and 2010 U.S. Championships and 2002 Skate America were held in Spokane with great success. The U.S. Championships held at Spokane Arena are the two highest-attended championships in the event's history, while the attendance mark at Skate America is the second highest all-time for the event. Star USA, a Spokane-based event management company under the leadership of Toby Steward and Barb Beddor, will promote Team Challenge Cup locally.

All-event ticket packages will be available Oct. 9, 2015. For more ticketing information and event details, please visit www.teamchallengecup.com.

Team Challenge Cup Schedule (tentative)
Friday, April 22 (evening): During the Singles Short Program, each singles athletes will perform his/her short program. The Team earning the most combined points (based on placement) will be crowned the Singles Short Program champion. Results from this segment will not carry over to Saturday's competition.

Saturday, April 23 (afternoon): The Team Free Skate will feature pairs and ice dance teams competing in an aggregate scoring format. Two pairs and ice dance teams from each Team will perform their free skates/dances, with the highest IJS scores in each discipline being added together for a total team score that will carry into the evening's Singles Free Skate.

Saturday, April 23 (evening): The Singles Free Skate will feature ladies and men competing in an aggregate scoring format. The singles athletes from each team will perform their free skates, with the two highest IJS scores in each discipline being added to the Team Free Skate score carrying over. The team with the highest aggregate IJS score will be crowned the 2016 Team Challenge Cup champion.

Sunday, April 24 (afternoon): An Exhibition featuring the best skaters from around the world.