The story of X Games began in 1993 when ESPN put a team together to create an extreme sport for action sport athletes. Originally called Extreme Sports before being changed to X Games, it was created to not only be a sport, but to be a type of lifestyle. The extreme sport lifestyle was mainly to target Members of Generation Y, those born between 1979 and 1994, consists of 58 million extreme sports enthusiasts and are the action sports market target audience (Grady, 2006). X Games has grown and developed to be a well known sporting event around the United States. The fast growing interest from fans are allowing advertisers expand their advertising playing field by putting their brands in the X Games competitions.


Advantages of X Games Advertising

When watching an X Games event, whether it is snowboard, skateboarding, motor cross, or even monster truck, viewers initial reaction are jaw dropping following, "how did he do that!". Besides the ooohs and ahhs, you will notice the countless advertisements throughout an X Games event. Advertisers place their brands on ramps, boards, helmets, and X games athletes wear uniforms with the brands on it. The advantage of advertising with X Games is that your giving your brand the opportunity to be apart of a life style. X Games fans embrace the habits and interests of X Game athletes. BBDO Advertising Agency launched their "Do the Dew" theme commercial, which feature young men who adore extreme sports, skating around doing extreme stunts while drinking a Mountain Dew beverage. Young Teens recognize that the sport that they follow is advertising Mountain Dew and will embrace the idea that Mountain Dew should be part of their life style because it is part of X Games.

Limitations of X Games Advertising

X Games is not a year around sport and when it does come around it doesn't last very long. The month long event is full of nothing but non stop competitions and freestyles. X Games comes in the winter in the month of January and Summer X Games comes in the month of August. Many advertisers will advertise a product year around because it may be a product that is a big need of the daily life of consumers.The scheduling of the X Games may limit an advertisers way of advertising their product because the X Games competitions last shortly up to a month. Also, the audience of X Games ranges from ages 18-34 males. Advertising in X Games automatically eliminates the female sex because the majority of X Games fans are males. The target audience are the that are not afraid to cut their knees up while trying a new trick that they just saw Tony Hawk do on television. These 18-34 year old males are not the average consumers. X Games enthusiast pride themselves on expressing their lifestyle on how they dress, including the branding of clothing they wear. A lot of products or brands will not appeal to the audience of X Games. There are many brands that are appealing to the majority of consumers around the world like Nike. The fact is that X Games fans are not attracted to Nike products. These consumers like brands like D.C., Element, and Van.


Cost of Advertising X Games

The X Games is full of different types of sponsors. Each athlete or team during the X Games competition is gets a sponsorpship from a brand. It is said that Sponsorships are to cost $1 to $3 million a piece (Spitzer, 2001). The main sponsors that run through the X Games are Edge, Jeep, Taco Bell, and US Navy.

Reach and Frequency of X Games Advertising

Whenever you are promoting in anytype of campaign one of your main focuses is the reach and frequency of your advertisements. Media planners use reach to set their objective for the total number of people to the advertisements (Hairong, 6). Since X Games only comes twice a year and for a shorter period of time of most sports, the reach of advertisements would be relatively high. The target audience is large as well, which gives advertisers a higher opportunity to have their advertisements exposed. Also, the amount of people that attend X Games events are rather large as well. In 2000 for the Winter X Games, there was a record of 83,500 at attendence for the debut of Winter X Games. According to Extreme Sports Network, in the 2008 Winter X games there was record breaking of 863,00 homes were vewing the Winter X games on their televisions. Not only is the reach high for X Games but so is the frequency. With the endless amount of sponsors and advertisement on boards, helmets, ramps, bikes, consumers will be able to see advertisments more than once at each viewing. Every competition is sponsored by a brand and that brand will show up numerous times in commercials, clothes worn by athletes and the product will be used by the athletes.


Scheduling Strategies of X Games Advertising

For most advertisers, it is simpler to figure out where and how to advertise. One of the more difficult things for advertisers to choose is when is the right time to advertise. There are several types of techniques that advertisers will use to benefit their product. The three types of scheduling commonly used by advetisers are continuity, flight, and pulse scheduling. Continuity scheduling spreads media spending evenly across months. Flight scheduling alternates advertising across months, with heavy advertising in certain months and no advertising in all other months. Pulse scheduling combines the first two scheduling methods, so that the brand maintains a low level of advertising across all months but spends more in selected months (Hairong, 16). The method that is more appropriate for advertising X Games would be Flight scheduling. The reason this method fits with X Games is becuause X Game events only happen two months out of the year. The backbone of X Games advertising is during the competitions because advertisments are everywhere. So, it is beneficial for advertisers to put a large amount of advertisements throughout X Games because you have so many competitors.

General Impact of Advertising

The impact of X Games advertising is a lot bigger then people may think. X Games fans are mainly consumers that actually participate in X Game sports themselves. X Games fans are easily influenced by the products that are being advertised or used by the professional X Game athletes. Giving your brand the opportunity to become apart of the extreme sport life style can result into may benefits for the product that is being advertised. In 2000, Heinz's Bagel Bites, which was orginally marketed to only moms, changed its strategy to target tweens and signed on as a sponsor for ESPN's 2000 Winter X Games and the consumption of the product grew 26% in consumption in eight weeks following those games (Cleland, 22). Every team or athlete will get a sponsor for the X Game event. Whatever sponsor they get they will use their product throughout the competition. If an athlete is sponsored by Red Bull, the athlete will have to drink Red Bull in front of the camera.
This will impact the consumers that are watching their favorite X Game athlete drink a Red Bull. The next time that viewer goes to the store and has to choose between a Red Bull and Monster Energy drink, guaranteed that consumer will pick the Red Bull.


One of the first things you think about when creating a media plan is who is going to be your target audience. You narrow down your target audience by defining your demographics and psychographics. According to Extreme Sports Network, the target audience for X Games are males from ages 18-34 with the average household income of $58,126 (Paussa, ND). From personal experience, I observed that the psychographics of the audience are people that believe participating in a X Game sport is a life style and express themselves through the extreme sport they play. Most extreme sports have a higher chance of being injured so these consumers have a open mind on things on many discussions. This target audience will be attracted to energy drinks and to clothing lines like Element, Van, and D.C.


Audience Response

With all the advertisements on snowboards, skateboards, bikes, consumers respond with interest and desire from this type of media. The X Games audience recognize the life style that these extreme athletes live by what they drink, wear, and what kind of equipment they have. Seeing Sean White drink a Monster Energy drink will give those fans the desire to buy that drink next time they are at the store. Mountain Dew has also made its way into marketing into this type of audience. Director of Sports Marketing at Omincom's OMD, Tom McGovern says, "Implementing Mountain Dew into X Games was an opportunity to take all things throughout the year and have culminating celebration of these athletes and lifestyles" (Cleland, 2). Consumers will automatically gain interest in the product of Mountain Dew because it is advertised throughout X Games and most likely sponsored to one of their favorite X Game athletes.

Interesting Facts DID YOU KNOW?

  1. Did you know 71% of action sport fans have a cell phone?
  2. Did you know teens make up less then 6% of X-Game viewers?
  3. Did you know Nearly 47% of people in the United States consider themselves action sports fans?
  4. Did you know 68% of action sports fans made online purchases in the past 12 months?
  5. Did you know the Olympics is constantly adding more summer and winter action sports events, recognizing the growing popularity with viewers?


The Martin Advertising Agecny and BBDO Advertising Agency are both the two main agencies that support the X Games. In 2008 The Martin Advertising Agency launched a commercial called "Talk Him Down". The ads steer clear of archival footage and try a somewhat unexpected trajectory. Drawing inspiration from Airplane-type spoof movies, the action takes place in an airport tower, suggesting that the athletes' aerial acrobatics are so intense they need traffic controllers to guide the maneuvers (Gianatasio, 2009). One of the most well known advertising agencies in the world, BBDO, also launched a campaign with Mountain Dew for the Winter X Games. The commercial was called the unstoppables.


Brandy, Grady. (2006). Advertising in the x games: an attempt to reach generation y. Unpublished manusc-ript, University of Texas Tech, Lubbock, Texas. Retrieved from http://thinktech.lib.ttu.edu/handle/2346/1218

Cleland, K. (2001) Action sports form fabric of generation; Marines to Mountain Dew quick to join games in search. Advertising Age, pg. 22. Retrieved November 17th. 2010, from LexisNexis Research Database.

Elliot, Stuart. (1996, June 21). The x games: going to the extremes in an effort to tap a growing segment of sports. New York Times, p. 6.

Garrity, Brian. (2003, July 26). Espn taps musicians for x games promo. Billboard, 115(30), Retrieved from www.billboard.com

Gianatasio, David. (2009, December 29). Ad of the day. AD Week, NN, Retrieved from http://www.adweek.com/aw/creative/ad-of-the-day/article_display.jsp?creativeId=270382

L, Hairong. (ND). Advertising media plan: a primer. Retrieved from http://admedia.org

Spitzer, Gabriel. (2001, August 8). It. Media Life, NN, Retrieved from http://www.medialifemagazine.com/news2001/aug01/aug06/3_wed/news3wednesday.html

Paussa, John. (ND). Extreme sports network. Retrieved from http://www.xsn24.com/about-us.html