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X Games
X Games logo.svg
SportExtreme sports
FoundedApril 12, 1994; 28 years ago (1994-04-12)[1]
Inaugural season1995
TV partner(s)ESPN
ESPN2
ESPN3 (live stream)
Atmosphere TV
ABC
Eurosport
ESPN Latin America
ESPN Brasil
Star+
NET. (2014)
Trans7
CTV
TSN
RDS
Official websiteXGames.com

The X Games are an annual extreme sports event organized, produced and broadcast by ESPN. Coverage is also shown on ESPN's sister network, ABC. The inaugural X Games were held during the summer of 1995 in Providence and Newport, Rhode Island, United States. Participants compete to win bronze, silver, and gold medals, as well as prize money.

The competition often features new tricks such as Tony Hawk's 900 in skateboarding, Shaun White's Double McTwist 1260 in snowboard, Dave Mirra’s Double Backflip in BMX, Travis Pastrana's Double Backflip in freestyle motocross, Heath Frisby's first snowmobile frontflip, Chuck Carothers's first body varial in Moto X Best Trick, Henrik Harlaut's first nose-butter triple cork in Ski Big Air, Gus Kenworthy's first switch triple rodeo in a ski slopestyle competition and Torstein Horgmo's first landed triple cork in a snowboard competition. Concurrent with competition is the "X Fest" sports and music festival, which offers live music, athlete autograph sessions, and interactive elements.

The X Games gained media exposure due to their big name sponsors, top-tier athletes, and consistent fan attendance. As the Journal of Sport Management (2006) explains, Generation X and Generation Y are the two demographics most highly valued by marketers. This creates a broad approach on marketing towards that certain demographic, which is why the X Games marketing and economic outlook is so "out of the box". According to a 2008 report by ESPN, in 1997, the Winter X Games inaugural year, 38,000 spectators attended the 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 X Games and Winter X Games continue to grow with the popularity of action sports and the athletes who compete in them.

As part of the X Games, there have been performances by various rock bands over the years, as well as a DJ being on-site at all events. The X Games have made it a point since its founding to stage an eco-friendly event. Such measures include using biodiesel fuel in their vehicles and organizing recycling campaigns.[2]

The X Games has never carried out drug tests on competitors, a position which has been criticized by the World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman and the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.[3][4][5]

Winter X Games

Variation of X Games logo, used for Winter X Games
Variation of X Games logo, used for Winter X Games

The Winter X Games VIII in 2002 was the first time an X Games event was televised live and also had coverage by ESPN's flagship news program, SportsCenter. Viewership across the three networks that carried coverage of the event – ABC Sports, ESPN, and ESPN2 – exceeded 2001's household average by 30% according to Nielsen Media Research. The event also reached record highs in several demographic categories. To accommodate the first-time live coverage, nighttime competitions were added, resulting in record attendance for the Aspen/Snowmass venue in Colorado.

The 2002 Winter X Games was a significant year for ESPN and the X Games. It was the first year that the games were held in Aspen at Buttermilk Mountain. The Games continued to add new events including the ski slopestyle event, ski superpipe event, snowboarding, skateboarding etc. 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 before the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. 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.

The Winter X Games are mostly held in the United States in January, but can happen in February, while the Summer X Games are usually held in August. The location of the Winter X Games is in Aspen, Colorado, through 2019, while the location for the Summer X Games has been in Los Angeles, changing to Austin, Texas, in June 2014. 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 television.

The Winter X Games are, as described by ESPN (2008), a competition compiled of the greatest winter action sport athletes from around the world competing on an annual basis. The competition has day and evening events including skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. The first Winter X Games took place at Snow Summit ski 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. Since 2002, the Winter X Games have been held at Aspen's Buttermilk Mountain and will continue to be until 2024, according to ESPN.

During 2015's Winter X Games, ESPN used camera drones to capture aerial views of the athlete's runs. This was a first for ESPN.[6]

Global expansion

X Games Asia have been held annually since 1998.

In May 2003, the X Games held the Global Championships, a special event where five continents competed in 11 disciplines. The event was held in two locations: the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and Whistler, British Columbia.[7][8] The final team results, in order, were the United States, Europe, Australia, Asia, and South America.

In May 2011, ESPN held a bid to select three host cities in addition to Los Angeles, Aspen, and Tignes, France, to form a six-event calendar for the next three years beginning in 2013.[9] In May 2012, the selected cities were announced: Barcelona, Spain; Munich, Germany; and Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil.[10] The two European cities have hosted the Summer Olympic Games in the past, whereas Brazil has provided several X Games competitors.[11][12][13] Since 2010, Winter X Games Europe has been held in Tignes and also began holding events in Norway in 2016. An event in Sydney, Australia was held in 2018 and winter and summer events were also planned for 2019 and 2020 in China and a return trip to Norway in 2020.

X Games Chiba, the first edition to take place in Japan, was introduced in 2022.[14]

Events

Current Summer

Current Winter

Skiing

Snowboarding

Real Video Series

Past Summer

Past Winter

History

Brian Deegan at X Games 17 in Los Angeles competing in the Moto X Step Up event.
Brian Deegan at X Games 17 in Los Angeles competing in the Moto X Step Up event.

Summarized from ESPN.com[16]

Summer X Games

Winter X Games

Host

Year Summer Winter Asia (Summer) Asia (Winter) Europe (Summer) Europe (Winter) Latin America Oceania
1995 United States Newport, Rhode Island United States Stowe, Vermont
1996 United States Newport, Rhode Island United States Stowe, Vermont
1997 United States San Diego, California United States Big Bear Lake, California
1998 United States San Diego, California United States Crested Butte, Colorado Thailand Phuket
1999 United States San Francisco, California United States Crested Butte, Colorado Thailand Phuket
2000 United States San Francisco, California United States Mount Snow, Vermont Thailand Phuket
2001 United States Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States Mount Snow, Vermont Thailand Phuket
2002 United States Philadelphia United States Aspen Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
2003 United States Los Angeles United States Aspen Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
2004 United States Los Angeles United States Aspen Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
2005 United States Los Angeles United States Aspen South Korea Seoul
2006 United States Los Angeles United States Aspen Malaysia Kuala Lumpur
2007 United States Los Angeles United States Aspen China Shanghai Mexico Mexico City
2008 United States Los Angeles United States Aspen China Shanghai Mexico Mexico City
2009 United States Los Angeles United States Aspen China Shanghai
2010 United States Los Angeles United States Aspen China Shanghai France Tignes
2011 United States Los Angeles United States Aspen China Shanghai France Tignes
2012 United States Los Angeles United States Aspen China Shanghai France Tignes
2013 United States Los Angeles United States Aspen China Shanghai Spain Barcelona
Germany Munich
France Tignes Brazil Foz do Iguaçu
2014 United States Austin, Texas United States Aspen China Shanghai
2015 United States Austin United States Aspen China Shanghai
2016 United States Austin United States Aspen Norway Oslo[27]
2017 United States Minneapolis United States Aspen Norway Hafjell[28]
2018 United States Minneapolis United States Aspen Norway Oslo[29] Australia Sydney
2019 United States Minneapolis United States Aspen China Shanghai Norway Oslo[30]
2020 United States Minneapolis[31] United States Aspen China Chongli[32][26] Norway Hafjell[33]
2021 United States Southern California United States Aspen

Canada Calgary[34]

2022 United States Southern California United States Aspen

Canada Calgary[34]

Japan Chiba

Movies

Two movies were filmed at the X Games. Ultimate X: The Movie was filmed at the 2001 X Games in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and X Games 3D: The Movie was filmed at the 2008 X Games and Winter X Games in Los Angeles, California and Aspen, Colorado.

Other Media

Video Games

ESPN X Games Skateboarding was released for the PlayStation 2 & Game Boy Advance in North America on August 13, 2001, and September 12, 2001. The park course featured in the game was based on the one used at the 2000 X Games in San Francisco, California. The Xbox version of the 2004 video game MTX Mototrax had the 2003 X Games Freestyle Motocross course as one of the Freestyle levels. The Winter X Games level featured in the game ESPN Winter X-Games Snowboarding (released on October 26, 2000, in North America for the PlayStation 2) was based on the courses at Mount Snow, Vermont.

References

  1. ^ Daggett, Laurel (April 12, 2013). "Anniversary of the day the X Games were created coincides with inventor's retirement". ESPNFrontRow.com. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  2. ^ Coryell, Grace. "ESPN's working hard to keep the Winter X Games green". ESPN. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  3. ^ WADA Statement on X Games in Norway – World Anti-Doping Agency, February 22, 2016
  4. ^ ESPN pushing ahead with X Games Oslo despite criticism of drug-testing policy – Ben Fischer, Sports Business Daily, February 22, 2016
  5. ^ Bach Blasts X Games Oslo for No Drug Testing – Around the Ring, February 21, 2016
  6. ^ Edgar Alvarez. "ESPN is bringing camera drones to the X Games". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  7. ^ "Teams Unveiled For X Games Global Championship". Ride BMX. April 1, 2003. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  8. ^ "ESPN To Stage X Games Global Championship". TransWorld SNOWboarding. May 28, 2002. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  9. ^ ESPN announces bid process for the X Games and Winter X Games Archived April 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine – ESPN, May 17, 2011
  10. ^ Devon O'Neil, X Games expands globally, Xgames.com, May 1, 2012
  11. ^ Katie Moses-Swope. "Save the Date: Announcement of Three New Cities to Join X Games Global Expansion – ESPN MediaZone". ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  12. ^ Danny Chi. "X GAMES ANNOUNCEMENT – ESPN MediaZone". ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  13. ^ "ESPN to drop International X Games competitions, cut jobs". Reuters. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  14. ^ Coryell, Grace (December 8, 2021). "X Games Chiba Will Take Place in Japan for the First Time in 2022". ESPN Press Room (Press release). ESPN. Retrieved April 21, 2022.
  15. ^ "X Games Sydney 2018 Recap". Monster Energy. October 22, 2018. Retrieved February 24, 2022.
  16. ^ "About International X Games". Archived from the original on September 16, 2009. Retrieved April 3, 2010. Alt URL
  17. ^ "EXPN.com – Summer X Games 2001 – 2000 Skateboarding Results". Archived from the original on May 22, 2001. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  18. ^ "X Games moves to downtown Los Angeles, July 29-Aug. 1, 2010". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  19. ^ "X Games and action sports videos, photos, athletes, events, original series, news and more". X Games. Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  20. ^ "Britains Doran Leaps To X Games Gold Medal". The Checkered Flag. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  21. ^ Bob Burnquist Lands Lien Air 720 in Big Air. YouTube. April 18, 2013. Archived from the original on November 13, 2021. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  22. ^ L'Heureux, David (June 30, 2013). "Brett Rheeder wins Mountain Bike Slopestyle". X Games. ESPN.
  23. ^ Bruton, Michelle. "How Cancellation Of Summer X Games 2020 Affects Minneapolis, Action Sports Calendar". Forbes. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  24. ^ "X Games Aspen – Henrik Harlaut wins Ski Big Air final". X Games. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  25. ^ "Snowmobiler Moore dies week after crash in Winter X Games". cbssports.com. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  26. ^ a b Bruton, Michelle. "X Games Postpones February Chongli Event, Citing Coronavirus Concerns". Forbes. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  27. ^ "X Games is coming to Oslo in February 2016". X Games. September 1, 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
  28. ^ "X Games in Hafjell March 8th–11th 2017". Hafjell.no. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  29. ^ "X Games Norway returns for 2018". X Games. January 4, 2018. Retrieved March 4, 2018.
  30. ^ "X Games Norway 2019 Is Coming In August". X Games.
  31. ^ Bruton, Michelle. "How Cancellation Of Summer X Games 2020 Affects Minneapolis, Action Sports Calendar". Forbes. Retrieved January 17, 2021.
  32. ^ Announcing X Games Chongli 2020
  33. ^ "X Games Norway Is Back For 2020". X Games.
  34. ^ a b Dormer, Dave (October 31, 2019). "Winter X Games won't be coming to Calgary". Calgary.