ESPN’s Global X Games Plans Just Crashed

X_Games_CrashESPN announced today that it ceasing production of its Global events in Barcelonoa, Munich, Brazil and Tignes, France. X Games will continue to run  in Aspen, Colorado and Austin, TX. In a very brief official statement, ESPN blamed “economics” as the reason for the decision. 2013 was to mark the triumph of action sports and X Games. After two decades of growth and evolution the establishment of the X Games franchise on three continents via six global events seemingly represented the mainstream maturation of action sports to the masses. Fueled by the enthusiasm of tweens high on energy drinks, ESPN took an optimistic leap of faith to bring X to these emerging “extreme” markets. Yet the business of generating revenue through sponsorships and advertising while relying on a global broadcast model apparently didn’t pay the piper. Here’s the official word:

“ESPN today announced it will not continue with X Games events in Barcelona, Munich, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil and Tignes, France.  We are proud to have run world-class competitions for both the athletes and spectators; however the overall economics of these events do not provide a sustainable future path.  The company remains fully committed to the X Games brand and its full-scale competitions in Aspen, Colorado and Austin, Texas – its newest host city – and we will continue to distribute these premier events around the world.”

After watching the events unfold on TV this summer, this news is not surprising. The “drama” of X Games got watered down pretty quickly. We barely paid attention and the novelty of Nyjah Huston winning another “X Games Gold” offered diminishing returns. We’re not sure if this is simply because “action sports” is losing it cool cache or because it’s not translating into other cultures, sponsorship-wise, or if it’s simply indicative of the generally shitty global economic environment. Whatever the case it’s yet another morale blow to the collective industry, which ultimately effects the workers, athletes, and fans that love it.





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