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ESPN and Group Y host Action Sports Conference

By
June 23, 2009 7:03 AM

Press release:

group Y To Host First Action Sports Conference At ESPN's X Games 15

One-Day Event To Bring Marketers From Action Sports World Together With Mainstream Brands To Share Best Practices, Key Insights And Leverage Future Opportunities

June 22nd, 2009 -- group Y and ESPN have collaborated to produce the Action Sports Conference, to be held at X Games 15 on July 30th. group Y, the premier action sports and youth marketing networking group, will use the X Games as a backdrop to bring together marketers from action sports and non-endemic brands for a day of education, networking and sharing of best practices. The Action Sports Conference will be presented by FUEL TV.

During the last two decades, activities such as skateboarding, BMX and surfing have continued to grow in both popularity and exposure. Recent statistics cite that participants in action sports represent well more than 15 million people, with spending extending into the double-digit billions. The X Games has showcased action sports on a global level since 1995, giving action sports athletes and brands a broader level of media exposure than ever before.

"What we've witnessed first hand with the X Games is how broad of an appeal action sports have, beyond the core participant," said Chris Stiepock, vice president and general manager for the X Games. "The excitement surrounding action sports transcends the active participants and extends to a steadily growing group of fans. Savvy marketers are realizing that if you engage the influencers in this genre first, their efforts can have a strong impact."

As the original action sports and youth marketing networking organization, group Y is ideally suited to be producing this conference. Founded in 2006 to foster relationships within the action sports community, group Y boasts the most authentic and connected membership base of any networking group in action sports. In the past, group Y has hosted many events throughout the Southern California region, featuring leaders from the top echelon of action sports and youth focused companies, including Quiksilver, Burton, Oakley, FUEL TV, Vans and MySpace.

For brands in action sports, increased media exposure has led to a greater need for strategic marketing initiatives ranging from grassroots programs to integrated social media executions. As part of the conference's activities, there will be panel discussions and presentations on best practices for merchandising brands, increasing athlete visibility across different channels and maintaining relevance with future participants.

"As an industry, the action sports world tends to be unique in its communal nature. It's not far from rare for competitors to not only socialize at events, but to also be friends as well," commented Liz Randall, group Y's CEO and co-founder. "What group Y events provide are ways to harness this community in a way to afford opportunities for members to connect in a low key environment and discuss issues and trends we're seeing as a whole."

The Action Sports Conference is the first group Y event to proactively invite representatives from outside of the endemic action sports community to participate. By inviting mainstream brands to partake in the discussions, group Y hopes to help non-endemic marketers better connect with the action sports community through appropriate partnership proposals and more authentic campaigns.

"The action sports participant tends to be pretty savvy and quick to judge when being targeted by the non-endemics. Unfortunately, the majority of the programs we're seeing that target this demographic wind up alienating them instead," commented Mark Sperling, co-founder and President of group Y. "It takes more than putting a snowboard in an ad to target someone who considers themselves a snowboarder. Through this conference, we're hoping to give some brands a deeper look into one facet of action sports and connect them with some key influencers to help them develop more authentic programs for the future."

As little nuances in execution can quickly turn a campaign from authentic to awful in the eyes of action sports participants, a limited number of VIP education packages will be made available. These packages will include a behind the scenes tour of the X Games as well as a guided, one-on-one experience where participants are able to ask questions, interact with brand representatives and receive insights surrounding the distinctions of targeting an influential demographic.

group Y's Action Sports Conference will be held in the Stadium Club of The Home Depot Center, an exclusive location that will overlook many of the events taking place during day one of X Games. Maximum capacity for the event will be 200 attendees with a participatory price of $195 for a basic conference package, with enhanced packages also available.

X Games 15 will be held July 30 - August 2, 2009, and be covered live on ESPN's family of networks, including ABC, as well as across ESPN's digital media assets. The event will feature athletes from across the globe competing for medals and prize money in Skateboarding, Moto X, BMX and Rally Car Racing.

Additional support for the Action Sports Conference is being provided by FUEL TV, Propaganda Headquarters and BBPR.

More details and information on the Action Sports Conference can be found online at www.actionsportsconference.com.


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