ESPN announced in May 2011 that the X-games would be expanding to six events in 2013. Well, the world did not end on December 21, 2012, so this is the year that action sports fans will have six X-games events to keep track of. The expansion of the X-games has been long coming.
Action sports have been on the rise since Tony Hawk landed the 900 in 1999, and these sports will continue to gain popularity with the expansion. The X-games will be coming to six different cities this year. The first two cities, Aspen, CO and Tignes, France will be apart of the Winter X-games series. The other four cities include: Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil; Barcelona, Spain; Munich, Germany; with a final stop in Los Angeles, CA. These cities will be apart of the summer series. While the expansion creates an avenue for action sports to expand globally, there are few concerns for such a large expansion.
Expanding the X-games will bring action sports to a whole variety of different nationalities and cultures. Many fans view these athletes as heroes, and do not have the financial means to travel to the United States to watch them. Having the show in other countries will allow fans to see their heroes in action and create a whole new fan base of people who would otherwise not watch the X-games. Another benefit of the expansion is it will give a chance for athletes to compete who might not have enough sponsorship money to travel to America to compete. Brazilians like Rony Gomes, Sandro Dias, and the great Bob Burnquist will thrive in Foz do Iguaçu. Finally, the expansion will create wave of revenue for those competing and hosting. Many action sports athletes live off of sponsorship money and competition earnings, both of which do not last long. The expansion will increase sponsorship opportunities as well as competition earnings. Previously, the X-games were only held three times a year. Doubling the number of cities could effectively double the revenue created by the X-games.
However, there are some problems with expanding to so many cities. There appears to be no clear-cut hierarchy to the cities, which means that each city is just as important as the last. Athletes could start to view the X-games as more of a show than a competition, which would cause them to play it safe. If the athletes begin to see the games as a show, they may take fewer risks, or not even compete at all if there is no sense of competition. As a fan myself, this worries me because this layout could cause the fans to be unhappy, much like college football fans are unhappy with the BCS. I feel like the X-games should follow the Dew Tour’s example and make each city more important than the last, with the final city being the most important. This will create a sense of competition for the athletes as well as turn the games into a global phenomenon.