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With X Games 16 wrapped up, we got a chance to talk with Chris Stiepock, the X Games Vice President of Sponsorship and Content, about the recently completed X Games, the Street League and what's next for the ESPN franchise.
I think it definitely justified the decision to move away from Carson and head downtown. I think the whole vision was to really create a big action sports lifestyle festival and energize the whole downtown, and that’s exactly what happened day and night. There was a constant industry presence all day and all night, so it was great.
As for the event staying in LA, yes. We are already talking about next year. Any time you move to a new venue, you have some things you don’t know how will go – from the movement of people to event times - so we are meeting about how to make things better for next year.
SuperRally (described as being like motocross but with cars) was new and we tried a new format for Moto X Speed and Style (where riders not only race but perform freestyle tricks).
We also introduced a digital competition called Real Street. There were 12 skaters, each working with a filmer, and they had to submit a new one-minute video part that you can watch here and a panel of judges voted. The winners did a Game of “Skate” on the venue on Sunday. It was definitely a way to get the whole filming aspect of the industry, which is a huge part, into the X Games, and a way to get guys who aren’t necessarily competition guys but phenomenal athletes involved. All the editions went really well.
We had more partners this year than last year. We changed our sponsorship model to be more flexible and to create more categories. Some were non-exclusive, like beverage. The was the first year Monster has gotten involved. We had Oakley, Converse, and probably more endemic presence than ever before. We have changed to be more flexible and embrace more partners at more levels. Early feedback is that our partners were really happy.
On page 2: ratings, partnering with Dyrdek, and the future of surfing in the X Games