ESPN sells majority interest in iconic X Games brand

ESPN has closed a deal to sell its majority stake in the iconic X and the Winter X Games this Wednesday. The network helped bring snowboarding, skateboarding, and other action sports out of the fringe and into mainstream culture for nearly three decades.
No reports regarding the terms of sale to MSP Sports Captial are available. ESPN will still remain a minority partner in the events business and will continue to broadcast them.
Winter X Games are scheduled for January 27th to 29th in Aspen, Colorado this season.

Winter X Games have been a trendsetter in snowboarding even after beginning its journey during the era when ESPN was still craving for programming of all sorts. It holds a reputation for constructing the best halfpipes and slopestyle courses and finding new events and niches to keep action sports on the cutting edge.

For Shaun White, Winter X Games are his top sports achievements considering his three Olympic titles, 15 wins, and 23 overall medals. Many of the sport’s biggest stars have won multiple titles in Aspen, such as Chloe Kim, Jamie Anderson, Danny Davis, and Marc McMorris. A great snowboarder’s CV isn’t complete without an Aspen victory, even in an era when the Olympics overshadow almost everything.
The first X Games took place in 1995 – a summer business called “Extreme Games” which focused on skateboarding. Tony Hawk was one of the gold medal winners at the inaugural rally. ESPN added a winter version in 1997 which eventually overshadowed its summer cousin in many ways, largely due to the inclusion of snowboarding in the Olympic programme a year later.
It takes more than 1,000 people to build courses, recruit judges, manage athlete health and safety, and schedule concerts, which have increasingly become a significant draw to the events. ESPN will step away from that aspect of the business while continuing to be invested in it by selling the majority ownership, allowing it to concentrate on its primary goal of broadcasting sports.
Taking over the contests’ production will be MSP, which will reshape the digital offerings to appeal to a younger, content-hungry audience.
Flisler has been an executive at Twitch, a streaming service that is best known for its live streaming of video games, and also was in leadership positions at NBCUniversal.


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