The X Games
is an annual event with a focus on extreme action sports. The Winter X Games are held in January or February and the Summer X Games are usually held in August. Participants compete to win bronze, silver and gold medals, and prize money. The competition often features new tricks such as Tony Hawk's "900"
, and Travis Pastrana's
double backflip in Motocross
. Concurrent with competition is the "X Fest" sports and music festival, which offers live music, athlete autograph sessions and interactive elements. The location of the Winter X Games is in Aspen
, while the location for the Summer X Games is in Los Angeles
. The X Games also has international competitions and demos around the world that are held at varying times throughout the year. The games are shown live on ESPN
and ABC television
Current Summer Sports
Current Winter Sports
- Summer X Games events
- Winter X Games events
The Winter X Games is, as described by EXPN (2008), a competition compiled of the greatest winter action sport athletes from around the world, all competing for medals (gold, silver, bronze) and prize money on an annual basis. The competition contains day and evening events including skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. The first Winter X Games took place at Mountain Resort in Big Bear Lake, California in 1997. The following two years, the Games were held at Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado. The two years following that, the Games were held in Mount Snow, Vermont. And since 2002 the Winter X Games have been held at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colorado, and according to ESPN they will continue to be held there through 2010.
Some of the star participants who have participated in The Winter X Games:
- Shaun White – American snowboarder/skateboarder. White's official website states that White is sometimes referred to as the "Flying Tomato" because of his shaggy red hair. White has mastered some of the toughest tricks in the game. He has obtained a number of medals and awards, including the 2008 Laureus Sports World Sports Award for the Best Action Sportsperson of the Year.
- Danny Kass – American snowboarder best known, according to the U.S. Olympic official website, for his silver medals in the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics. The punk-image Kass has a signature move known as the "Kassaroll" (backside rodeo), an extremely difficult trick.
- Sarah Burke – Canadian freestyle skier who has been recognized by ESPN numerous times, including 2001 Female Skier of the Year and 2007 Best Female Action Sports Athlete.
- Tanner Hall – American free skier who has continued to outperform at the Winter X Games. Hall won Best North American Free Skier in 2006 and he holds the record for Winter X Games gold medals with seven.
The Winter X Games gained media exposure due to their big name sponsors and star-studded athletes. However, their marketing ideas add to that because of the number of fans who attend the actual events. As the Journal of Sport Management (2006) explains, Generation X and Generation Y are the two most highly valued by marketers. This creates a broad approach on marketing towards that certain demographic, which is why the Winter X Games' marketing and economic outlook is so “out of the box”.According to EXPN (2008); The Winter X Games inaugural year, 1997, was televised to 198 countries and 38,000 spectators attended the actual four day event. In 1998, the attendance dropped to 25,000 spectators. But just two years later, a record attendance of 83,500 people attended the Winter X Games’ east coast debut. The Games continue to grow thanks to certain marketing plans such as The Interactive Village, Musical Line-Ups, and the Snowskate Park.
The Interactive Village
The Interactive Village is described by EXPN (2008) as the designated Official Winter X Games Sponsor Booth area. It is usually located by the main entrance of the event and it offers fun activities for all attending fans. Some activities include scheduled autograph signings, giveaways for spectators, climbing walls, video game experiences, and the chance to try new and upcoming products that are presented by sponsors.
The Snowskate Park is an actual layout provided by the Winter X Games sponsors in order to provide real-life interaction for all spectators. The Snowskate Park posts a schedule so that fans can enter the park in order to “play” around or show off their skills. The schedule usually includes: Open Park for the Public, Invitational Practices, Special Kids Events, Experienced Snowskate Sessions, and Competitive Sledding.
All Winter X Games merchandise can be found and purchased commonly on the number of X Games Gear websites. And, since the X Games are an ESPN event, all merchandise can be found on the popular ESPN Shop website.
Throughout the Winter X Games, live music line-ups are prepared in order to give fans the non-stop action that they came to see. Some performing music acts are up-and-coming bands/artists that are looking for serious exposure, but well-known talents perform at the Games as well. DJs are a fixed piece of the X Games, you can find them spinning the tracks during each athletes run.
X Games Going “Green”
The X Games has a successful program, X Games Environmentality (XGE),that focuses on reducing waste through recycling and compositing greenhouse gas emissions through the use of alternative fuels. Disney (2008) explains that the X Games use bio diesel fuel, bio fuel-powered RFTA shuttles, and 100% post-consumer recycled paper. In 2006, nearly 70% of event waste was diverted from Aspen-area landfills to be processed at specialized facilities. The X Games work to beat the record each and every year. Educational outreach for fans, staff and vendors will include opportunities to contribute to XGE’s efforts.
“Get Caught Recycling”
“Get Caught Recycling” is a program created by the XGE in order to encourage recycling. Environmentality (2008) explains that the program works as follows: Fans who get caught recycling during the Games will be rewarded with tokens that they can redeem for valuable prizes at the TRASHed Recycling Store. The program produces solid results with voluntary recycling by fans in exchange for fun, environmentally-friendly prizes.
Showing the Proof
Thanks to the X Games and their continuous efforts on improving the environment, it is difficult for the results to go unnoticed. Habitat protection and enhancement, energy and water efficiency, green development, waste management, recycling, and alternative transportation are what have help to elevate Aspen Ski Company to serve as the country’s Green Leader in the mountain resort industry; all thanks to XGE.
The Winter X Games are the leading winter action sports competition and tour in the whole world, and the Games’ growth is well documented by EXPN (2008). The ratings, attendance, and participation have continued to grow over the years. In the Games’ first year, 1997, the actual attendance of the event was about 38,000 people. In 1998 the attendance dropped to about 25,000 people with the Games’ move to Crested Butte, but new sports were introduced including free skiing, SnoCross, and SkiBoarding. Women’s Free Skiing was introduced a year later and attendance showed an increase at its second stay at Crested Butte. A year later, the Games moved to the east coast for the first time and recorded a record attendance of 83,500 people in Vermont. Also in 2000, the Games added the Snowboard SuperPipe event. Again in Vermont in 2001, the Games posted another great fan turnout along with the addition of the Moto X Big Air event.
Winter X Games VIII in 2004 marked the first time that an X Games event was televised live and also featured coverage by ESPN's flagship news program, Sports Center. Viewership across the three networks that carried coverage of the event - ABC Sports, ESPN and ESPN2 – exceeded last year's household average by 30% according to Nielsen Media Research. The event also reached record highs in several major demographic categories. To accommodate the first-time live coverage, nighttime competitions were added, resulting in record attendance for the Aspen/Snowmass venue.
Winter X Games 2002
The 2002 Winter X Games were a huge year for ESPN and the X Games. It was the first year that the games were held in Aspen Colorado at Buttermilk Mountain. The Games continued to added new events including the Ski Slopestyle event and the Ski SuperPipe event. The most memorable incident of the 2002 Games was when the entire 2002 U.S. Olympic Freestyle Snowboarding Team showed up to compete in the Winter X Snowboard SuperPipe event, just weeks prior to the Salt Lake City Olympics. Also in 2002, ESPN announced the establishment of the X Games Global Championship. The Global Championship featured two distinct venues hosting competitions in summer and winter action sports simultaneously. It consisted of six teams of the World’s top athletes, grouped together by their region of origin, to compete in the four day event. The winter sports were held in Whistler Blackcomb Resort in British Columbia, and the events included snowboarding and skiing.
Growth, Post 2002
In 2003, the Games were broadcasted live for the first time on three separate channels. The Games were still being held in Aspen and it was in this year that the new events, Moto X Ski, Snowboard, and Snowmobile were introduced. As attendance continued to soar, the Games saw a record-high attendance in Aspen with 69,750 people. In 2006, the Winter X Games introduced the Snowmobile Freestyle event along with the first ever disabled discipline, Mono Skier X. The Snowboarding Department added the ever-popular Snowboard Best Trick Showdown in 2006 as well. 2007 was another record breaking year for the Games, this time it topped the old Aspen attendance record with 76,150 people. The Winter X Games that year were broadcasted on ESPN and ABC along with television, internet, and iPod live streams. In 2008 the Winter X Games enhanced their coverage on ESPN and continued to add new disciplines. This time it was the addition of Snowmobile Speed & Style, Skiing Big Air, and the Snowboard Big Air that tried to attract more viewers and fans.
Big Air contests have also been added to the Winter X pillars of Skiing and Snowboard. Featuring only four competitors in each contest, the scoring of every run will be fan interactive: 50% of each competitor's score will come from live fan text voting and the second half will be judged by the analysts calling the competitions live on TV. The fan text voting really gives fans a chance to interact and be a part of the scoring of the event. It was first introduced during the summer games for the skateboarding event.
ESPN Event Media (2008) states that all volunteers must be 18 years of age or older, commit to at least two days, and attend orientation. The X Games provide free gifts, snacks, meals, refreshments, and raffles for their volunteers.
Summarized from EXPN.com
Summer X Games
- 1995: Extreme Games - Providence & Newport, Rhode Island & Mount Snow, Vermont (June 24 - July 1, 1995)
- 1996: X Games II - Providence & Newport, Rhode Island
- 1997: X Games III - San Diego, California (June 20-28, 1997)
- 1998: X Games IV - San Diego, California (June, 1998)
- 1999: X Games V - Pier 30 & 32, San Francisco, California (June 25 - July 3, 1999)
- 275,000 in Attendance
- After eleven failed attempts, skateboarder Tony Hawk finally lands a 900-degree spin ("the 900"), winning the Best Trick competition.
- 2000: X Games VI - Pier 30 & 32, San Francisco, California (August 17-22, 2000)
- Tommy Clowers wins the first ever Moto-X Step Up event, at a record-breaking height of 35 feet.
- 2001: X Games VII - First Union Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (August 17-22, 2001)
- 235,000 in Attendance
- Bob Burnquist wins the Skateboard Vert contest with an unbelievable 98, the highest point avg. ever given to any athlete in skateboarding.
- Taig Kris wins the Inline Vert event, with the first double backflip in X Games history.
- Danny Harf lands a 900-degree spin in wakeboarding.
- 2002: X Games Eight - First Union Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (August 15-19, 2002)
- Mat Hoffman lands the no handed 900-degree spin.
- Mike Metzger landed the first back flip in Moto-X Freestyle X Games History over an 80 foot gap. He also pulled off two consecutive flips in a competition run for the Victory.
- 2003: X Games Nine - Staples Center & LA Coliseum, Los Angeles, California (August 14-17, 2003)
- Brian Deegan lands the first ever 360 in Freestyle Moto-X, earning him the bronze in FMX and gold in Big Air/Best Trick.
- Ryan Scheckler bacame the youngest X-Games gold medalist ever at the age of 13 in Skateboard Streetpark
- 2004: X Games 10 - Staples Center, Home Depot Center, Long Beach Marine Stadium, Los Angeles, California (August 5-8, 2004)
- Nate Adams becomes the first person to defeat Travis Pastrana in the Freestyle Moto-X event at the X Games.
- Danny Way wins the first ever Skateboard Big Air event.
- Jeremy McGrath debuts at the X Games, winning gold in Moto-X Step Up, and bronze in Supermoto.
- Chuck Carothers wins Moto-X Best Trick with the first Bodyvarial done at X-Games
- 2005: X Games XI - Staples Center, Los Angeles, California (August 4-7, 2005)
- Shaun White failed to land the 1080 in skate best trick after 29 attempts.
- Jamie Bestwick pulled off the first ever double tailwhip flair in the BMX Vert Best Trick event.
- ESPN has signed a contract to keep the X Games in Los Angeles through 2009.
- 2006: X Games 12 - Staples Center, Home Depot Center & Long Beach Marine Stadium, Los Angeles, California (August 3-6, 2006)
- 2007: X Games 13 - Staples Center, Home Depot Center & Long Beach Marine Stadium, Los Angeles, California (August 2-5, 2007)
- Jake Brown gets hurt after landing the first 720 in Big Air competition. He fell from 40'+ in the air and landed on his backside and back on the flat. The force of the fall knocked his shoes off. After 8 minutes laying motionless, he walks away with help. Suffered a fractured wrist, bruised lung and liver, whiplash, ruptured spleen, and a concussion.
- Ricky Carmichael wins the first ever MotoX Racing Circuit.
- Mat Hoffman returns to competition in BMX Big Air.
- Simon Tabron does an X Games first, doing back-to-back 900s in BMX Vert.
- 2008: X Games 14 - Los Angeles, California (July 31 – August 3, 2008 )
- Danny Way clips his shins on the lip of the quarterpipe after a 20+ foot fall during the Big Air comp, which the commentators refer to as the "second worst fall ever at the X Games" (the first being Jake Brown's the year prior). After spending a few minutes with paramedics, Way limps back to the ramp and goes on to nail the trick he'd fallen on, coming in second place.
- Kyle Loza won his second gold medal in the Moto X Best Trick competition in two appearances by performing a never-before-seen move named "The Electric Doom."
- Skateboarder Andy Macdonald won his 15th X Games medal, surpassing Tony Hawk as the all-time leader in skateboarding medals.
- Rally racer Travis Pastrana reclaimed the gold medal by defeating Tanner Foust in the Rally X final.
- Jim DeChamp falls by attempting first ever Frontflip on Moto-X bike
- 2009: X Games 15 - Los Angeles, California (Dates TBD)
Winter X Games
- 1997: Winter X Games One, Snow Summit Mountain Resort, Big Bear Lake, California (January 30 - February 2, 1997)
- 1998: Winter X Games Two, Crested Butte, Colorado
- 1999: Winter X Games Three, Crested Butte, Colorado
- 2000: Winter X Games Four, Mount Snow, Vermont (February 3-6, 2000)
- 2001: Winter X Games Five, Mount Snow, Vermont
- 2002: Winter X Games Six, Aspen, Colorado (February 1-5, 2002)
- 2003: Winter X Games Seven, Aspen, Colorado (January 30 - February 5, 2003)
- 2004: Winter X Games Eight, Aspen, Colorado (January 22-25, 2004)
- 2005: Winter X Games Nine, Aspen, Colorado (January 29- February 1, 2005)
- 2006: Winter X Games 10, Aspen, Colorado (January 28-31, 2006)
- Jeaux Hall lands the 1080 in half-pipe contest after 17 attempts
- ESPN has signed a contract with the Aspen Skiing Company to keep the Winter X Games in Colorado through 2010
- 2007: Winter X Games 11, Aspen, Colorado (January 25-28, 2007)
- 2008: Winter X Games 12, Aspen, Colorado''(January 24-27, 2008)'
- 2009: Winter X Games 13, Aspen, Colorado (Dates TBD)
- 2010: Winter X Games 14, Aspen, Colorado (Dates TBD)
X Games Global Championships
From May 16
up until May 18 2003
, the X Games held a special event called the Global Championships, where 6 continents competed in 11 disciplines. The event was held in two locations, the Alamodome
in San Antonio, Texas
(where 7 of the events, including In-line skating, Skateboarding, BMX and Freestyle Motocross, were held), as well as in Whistler, British Columbia
(where the Superpipe
events for Snowboarding
The final team results were:
- It was also here at the Global Championships where Jamie Bestwick performed the first ever Tailwhip Flair in the BMX Vert event.
11.) Beal, Becky. "Disqualifying the Official: an Exploration of Social Resistance Through the Subculture of Skateboarding." Sociology of Sport Journal (1995): 252-267. Sport Discus. 26 February 2008.
12.) "Media Preferences of Generation X and Y." Journal of Sport Management 20 (2006): 573. Sport Discus. 2 March 2008.