History of X
The story of X Games begins in 1993 with the event’s inception in Newport, RI. It has evolved into the dazzling spectacle we watched in Los Angeles in 2012. This interactive timeline shows how the X Games arrived as the world’s premier action sports brand.
X Games Los Angeles 2012, held June 28 – July 1, showcased 200 of the world’s best action sports athletes from 23 countries competing in front of 144,700 fans at STAPLES Center and Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE. During X Games Los Angeles 2012, fans were able to consume original X Games content on more platforms than ever before, while digital content consumption showed continued and significant growth. In addition, the Saturday afternoon telecast on ABC delivered a strong rating – significantly increased from the previous year – and growth in all key male demos. ESPN’s digital media average audience for the two-week period surrounding X Games Los Angeles (June 25-July 8) was also a substantial percentage increase from 2011. The event’s successes included the increased attendance of 144,700 – the highest attendance in eight years.
Outside the United States, X Games Los Angeles was televised on ESPN networks in 206 countries and territories to more than 234 million homes, including coverage in Africa, Asia, Australia, Brazil, Caribbean, Central America, Canada, Europe, India, Israel, Mexico, Middle East, New Zealand and South America. The event will also be simulcast on ESPN's international broadband platforms in Australia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean. ESPN also received record growth and engagement across all X Games social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) with the four days of competition.
X Games Los Angeles 2012 was highlighted by groundbreaking events and historic performances. In Moto X Step Up, Ronnie Renner dueled with Matt Buyten, but Renner ultimately took gold with a record-shattering height of 47 feet. The Hot Wheels Team built a track inspired by the Double Dare Snare toy racetrack set. Soaring 66 feet in the air, the track challenged rally car driver Tanner Foust and stuntman Greg Tracy to test their physical limits. The drivers successfully drove, looped, and landed on the track while enduring 7g’s of force. Fans of X Games 2012 were witnesses to history. BMX vert rider Jaime Bestwick captured his 6th consecutive gold in the event –joining only Tony Hawk and Andy Macdonald’s run in the Skate Vert Doubles ever to do so. Despite the rise of young stars in the sport, Bestwick continued to defend his title and fortify his legendary career. Garret Reynolds was also able to fight off the up-and-comers to continue his run at the games. Reynolds took home his fifth straight gold in the BMX Street event. The pain and perseverance endured by longtime showman Bob Burniquist was an unforgettable moment that will stand still in X Games history. Burniquist is one of just four athletes to compete in all 18 X Games, and it looked like his competition might end with a grueling back injury. Although Burniquist could hardly walk immediately following the injury, he was able to fend off competitors half his age to take home a gold medal in the Skateboard Big Air. This year’s games showed a glimpse of the bright future ahead in extreme sports. Mitchie Brusco, 15, Jagger Eaton, 11, and Tom Schaar, 12, all competed in the Skateboard Big Air competition. Brusco and Schaar became the first two athletes to land a 900 ever in the Skateboard Air competition, while Eaton became the youngest athlete ever to compete at the games.
X Games 17, held in Los Angeles July 28-31, showcased 200 of the world’s premiere action sports athletes from 20 countries competing in front of 141,500 fans – the highest attendance in seven years – at STAPLES Center and Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE. Fans were able to consume X Games content on more platforms than ever before, including 29 hours of content on ESPN digital platforms, which helped generate record multimedia growth and the largest digital audience ever for an X Games event. In addition, 37 million people tuned into 25 hours of live X Games television coverage across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC – up six percent from last year (35 million). Outside the United States, X Games content was delivered to more than 232 million homes and live to 192 countries and territories, including Africa, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean, Europe, Israel, Latin America, Mexico, Middle East and New Zealand. ESPN also received record growth and engagement across all X Games social media platforms with the X Games Facebook page increasing nearly four-fold (up 284 percent) in “likes” and comments compared to the same days last year, X Games channel on YouTube achieving its most-trafficked week ever with video views up 192 percent from the same time period last year and the X Games Twitter name @XGames mentioned more than 20,000 times during the four days of competition and #XGames tweeted 69,000 times and reaching more than 21 million people.
The X Games celebrated its sixteenth anniversary as 138,525 fans attended X Games 16 at STAPLES Center, LA Live and The LA Coliseum July 29 – Aug 1. A record number of fans consumed the extensive X Games 16 content featured across ESPN’s global distribution platforms, including television, internet, iPods, mobile and more. During the four-day event, ESPN telecast 31 hours of original X Games content. And for the first time delivered nine hours of X Games content live in 3D. More than 35 million people in the United States tuned into the X Games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN 3D. And around the globe X Games 16 was delivered to more than 382 million homes and telecast live to 175 countries and territories. Total hours consumed on ESPN3.com, ESPN’s 24/7 sports broadband network, during X Games 16 was up 238% compared to 2009. The X Games page on Facebook grew by 50% and added over 100,000 new fans in the weeks leading up to the X Games. And The X Games Channel on YouTube also had its most-trafficked week ever, with Saturday alone (July 31) registering a record nearly half-million video views.
The X Games celebrated its fifteenth anniversary as 111,200 fans attended X Games 15 at STAPLES Center and The Home Depot Center July 30-Aug.2. In addition to being the most viewed X Games ever, a record number of fans consumed the extensive X Games 15 content featured across ESPN and ABC’s global distribution platforms, including television, internet, iPods, mobile and more. Nearly 44 million people tuned into X Games on ESPN, ESPN2 or ABC during the four-day event. This number is up 11% from last year’s total X Games reach of 39.4 million viewers. Skateboard Park replaced skatelite in its pool with concrete in a fast-flowing course modeled after some of the best concrete skateparks in the world.
X Games 14 is held in Los Angeles July 31 – August 3, 2008 and featured more than 200 of the world’s best action sports athletes competing for medals and 1.65 million dollars in prize money. X Games 14 produced more than 20 of hours of live coverage and original content. ESPN once again kicked off the celebration with a live global simulcast on night one, and continued with live coverage the entire weekend on ESPN, ESPN 2 and ABC. X Games 13 competitions and content were also featured on ESPN International networks, EXPN.com, ESPN Classic, ESPN 360.com, SportsCenter, and ESPN 2’s X Center.
X Games 13 is held in Los Angeles August 2-5, 2007 and adds three new disciplines of Moto X Racing, Women’s Surf, and BMX Big Air to its sport lineup. X Games 13 produced more than 14 hours of live coverage on ESPN, ESPN 2 and ABC. Starting with the kickoff of the first ever X Games global simulcast, X Games 13 competitions and content were also featured on ESPN International networks, EXPN.com, ESPN Classic, ESPN 360.com, SportsCenter, and ESPN 2’s X Center.
X Games 12 is held in Los Angeles August 3-6 adds the sport of Rally Car Racing and the new discipline of BMX Big Air to its sport lineup. More than 138,000 fans attended the competition at The Home Depot Center and STAPLES Center, an increase of nearly 13 percent over X Games 11 in 2005. X Games 12 was also ESPN’s highest-rated X Games ever among young men in the 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 age groups. For the first time, X Games was aired 24 hours each day of the event using ESPN, ESPN2, ABC, ESPN Classic, EXPN.com, ESPN360, Mobile ESPN, ESPN International, iTunes and provided unprecedented round-the-clock coverage including a first-ever Pay-Per-View offering for BMX Big Air and an X Games Moto Madness demonstration.
On April 27, an announcement is made that X Games will remain in Los Angeles through 2009. X Games 11 is held in Los Angeles August 4-7 at The Home Depot Center, STAPLES Center, Long Beach Marine Stadium and Surfing’s new home of Puerto Escondido, Mexico. The event airs live on ESPN, ABC and ESPN Deportes domestically in more than 75 countries and territories via ESPN International.
The 10th anniversary of X Games is held August 5-8 in Los Angeles for its second consecutive year. Featuring a new finals-only format that is telecast completely live, 150 athletes compete in Aggressive In-line Skate, Bike Stunt, Moto X, Skateboard, Surf and Wakeboard. Venues include STAPLES Center, Home Depot Center, Huntington Beach Pier and Long Beach Marine Stadium. The event garners the highest viewership in the event’s 10-year history and a 47 percent increase from X Games Nine. Attendance over the four day period totals 170,471, including a new one-day attendance record set on Saturday, August 7 with 79,380. On Friday, August 6, X Games 10-year attendance hits the two million mark.
July 1 kicks off a 41-day X Games tribute at Disney’s California Adventure™ in Anaheim, Calif., titled X Games Xperience. Guests of the newest theme park inside the Disneyland Resort are immersed in a fast-paced array of activities inspired by ESPN’s X Games, including interactive activities like Moto X Big Air and Vert ramp demonstrations featuring X Games athletes. X Games Nine makes its debut in Los Angeles August 14-17 in its primary venue at STAPLES Center. Additional venues are in and around Los Angeles, including the Los Angeles Coliseum. Total attendance for the event is 187,141, including a one-day X Games attendance record on Saturday (8/16) with 67,500. X Games Surfing also successfully debuts to a crowd of 25,500 in Huntington Beach and women’s Skateboard Park and Vert are made official X Games competitions. The telecast airs on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC and features a live Bike Stunt Vert competition on ABC. It also captures the sought-after 12-17 year-old demographic, which achieves record results. People aged 12-17 increases 10 percent from last year’s telecast.
On May 10, Touchstone Pictures and ESPN present the major motion picture ESPN’s Ultimate X to large-format theatres across the country. The film chronicles the breathtaking highlights and dramatic stories behind X Games Seven and showcases the eye-popping skateboarding, BMX biking, Moto X, and street luge competitions on the giant screen for the first time. X Games Eight returns to the First Union Complex in Philadelphia August 15-19. Another park course is added to accommodate the unique riding style of skateboarding. Women’s Skateboard and Moto X exhibitions are featured. The average per day crowd at the First Union Complex is 40,210, a new record for the X Games. The overall crowd count totals 221,352, including the X Games’ two-millionth fan. X Games Eight was the most-watched X Games ever as nearly 63 million people tune in on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports. X Games Skateparks open in Franklin Mills in Philadelphia, Pa. (Aug. 26); Colorado Mills in Denver, Colo. (November 14) and Grapevine Mills in Dallas, Texas (December 3).On November 21, ESPN selects Los Angeles to host X Games Nine and 10. The event’s primary venue will be inside and around STAPLES Center (Aug. 14-17), with ancillary venues at the Los Angeles Coliseum, Woodward West, Huntington Beach and others.
The inaugural Action Sports and Music Awards are held on April 7 to a packed crowd of 6,000 at the Universal Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. The event unites action sports athletes, sport legends, musicians and Hollywood celebrities, presenting the most explosive evening in the history of action sports. Celebrities LL Cool J, Rebecca Romijn-Stamos and Chris Klein host the event, which includes performances from the original members of Black Sabbath, Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals and more.
Philadelphia hosts X Games Seven August 17-22. Downhill BMX makes its debut, which is held at the Woodward Camp in central Pa. For the first time in X Games history, the events are held inside and outside an arena—the First Union Complex—where 234,950 spectators are in attendance.
In August, ESPN and The Mills Corporation announce a licensing agreement to build state-of-the-art public X Games Skateparks at several Mills retail centers across the country. The skateparks, designed by the industry’s top course designers, will offer public facilities for skateboarding, bike stunt riding (BMX) and in-line skating. The first park opens in November at the Discover Mills mall in Gwinnett County, Ga., just outside Atlanta.
X Games Six takes place August 17-22 in San Francisco on Piers 30/32. A Moto X Step Up competition is added. Announcements are made regarding the launch of several new ventures, including the Action Sports and Music Awards, International X Games Qualifiers and more. Philadelphia hosts X Games Seven August 17-22. Downhill BMX makes its debut, which is held at the Woodward Camp in central Pa. For the first time in X Games history, the events are held inside and outside an arena—the First Union Complex—where 234,950 spectators are in attendance. In August, ESPN and The Mills Corporation announce a licensing agreement to build state-of-the-art public X Games Skateparks at several Mills retail centers across the country. The skateparks, designed by the industry’s top course designers, will offer public facilities for skateboarding, bike stunt riding (BMX) and in-line skating. The first park opens in November at the Discover Mills mall in Gwinnett County, Ga., just outside Atlanta.
From June 27 through July 4, X Games Five in San Francisco attracts nearly 275,000 spectators. Those in attendance were treated to Tony Hawk’s first-ever “skateboarding 900” and the X Games debut of Moto X. ESPN announces that the X Games will now be held in August to allow for new marketing and programming opportunities.
In June, the X Games tops its attendance mark for the fourth consecutive year as more than 233,000 spectators flock to Mariner’s Point in San Diego X Games Four.
From January 30 through February 2, the inaugural Winter X Games are televised to 198 countries and territories in 21 different languages. This is the first year that ABC Sports broadcasts an X Games event. More than 38,000 spectators make the trek to Big Bear Lake for four days of competition. In March, the X Trials, a qualifying event for the X Games, begin in Providence, R.I. Additional X Games qualifying events, including the B3 and EXPN Invitational, are held each summer through 2002 in cities including Orlando, Fla.; Louisville, Ky.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Virginia Beach, Va.; Richmond, Va.; Lake Havasu, Ariz.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Bristol, Conn. From June 20 through June 28, a record crowd of 221,000 fans watches X Games Three in San Diego and Oceanside, Calif. Snowboard Big Air amazes on-lookers with a 10-story jump comprised of hundreds of tons of manmade snow.
In January, the event name Extreme Games officially changes to the X Games. The primary reasons for the change are to allow easier translation to international audiences and better branding opportunities. In late June, approximately 200,000 spectators turn out for X Games Two in Newport, R.I. Kiteskiing, windsurfing and mountain biking are replaced by wakeboarding.
From June 24 through July 1, the Extreme Games are held in Newport, Providence and Middletown, R.I., and Mount Snow, Vt. Athletes compete in 27 events in nine sport categories: Bungy Jumping, Eco-Challenge, In-line Skating, Skateboarding, Skysurfing, Sport Climbing, Street Luge, Biking and Water Sports.198,000 spectators attend the first Extreme Games. Seven sponsors—Advil, Mountain Dew, Taco Bell, Chevy Trucks, AT&T, Nike and Miller Lite Ice—lend their support to the event. After enthusiastic response from the athletes, organizers, spectators and sponsors, ESPN decides to hold the event the following year, instead of every two years as originally announced. In October, it is announced that Rhode Island will be the location for the 1996 event.
At a press conference at Planet Hollywood in New York City on April 12, ESPN announces that the first Extreme Games will be held in Rhode Island in June of 1995.
ESPN management decides to devote significant resources to the creation of an international gathering of action sport athletes. A team assembles to develop the concept.