The X Games have  gotten really mainstream and (I admit this is more lameness on my part than their part) the tricks have gotten so intricate I can’t tell what they’re doing half the time.  I stopped counting when the board turned into a blur.  Nevertheless, the X Games get more and more popular every year.  In 1993 ESPN financed the X Games by themselves, seeing the raw potential in the X sports as money makers.  By ’95 Advil, Mountain Dew, Taco Bell, Chevy Trucks, AT&T, Nike and Miller Lite Ice lend their support to the event.  Flash forward to 2011 and Sony’s PlayStation, PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew and Red bull have bought advertising packages in the millions of dollars range, hoping to reach the elusive 12 – 24 year old male demographic.  Corporate America struggles with this demographic because it’s hard to both mainstream and “cool” but if anyone can do it, ESPN can (given their track record with both the NBA and NFL.)

In ’96 the first winter X Games were announced.  Between the summer and winter events, there has only been one year in which the crowds do not increase.  The reasons behind this vary.  Advertising has obviously been pushed hard.  Also, the X Games stars are unique in that everyone wants to see them win.  They’re not sell-outs, they’re just kids following a dream who are really good at what they do.  Even better, their stars can keep performing well into their 30s and 40s. The increasing technicality of the moves grow better with the mental focus that come with miles and miles on a skateboard/motorcycle/snowboard, etc.

Although there are extreme sport competitions throughout the year, the X Games easily dwarfs them in popularity and media coverage.  About 2 minutes on a skateboard can put an inexperienced boarder on the map; turning broke amateurs into sponsored professionals.  Tune in July 28-31st on ESPN to see the Moto, Rally, Skateboarding and BMX competitions.



I’m reading Principles of Economics