X Games

For the computer game series, see X (game series).
X Games
Sport Extreme sports
Founded 1995
Inaugural season Extreme Games
TV partner(s) ESPN
ESPN3 (live stream)
ESPN Latin America
ESPN Brasil
Official website XGames.com

The X Games is an annual sports event, controlled and arranged by American sports broadcaster ESPN (with coverage also shown on its sister network ABC), which focuses on extreme sports. The inaugural X Games were held in the summer of 1995 in Newport, Rhode Island. Participants compete to win bronze, silver, and gold medals, as well as prize money.

The competition often features new tricks such as Tony Hawk's 900 in skateboarding, Travis Pastrana's double backflip in freestyle motocross, Heath Frisby's first ever snowmobile front flip in Snowmobile Best Trick, and Torstein Horgmo's first landed triple cork in a snowboard competition. Concurrent with competition is the "X Fest" sports and music festival, which offers live music, athlete autograph sessions, and interactive elements.

The X Games gained media exposure due to their big name sponsors, top-tier athletes, and consistent fan attendance. As the Journal of Sport Management (2006) explains, Generation X and Generation Y are the two demographics most highly valued by marketers. This creates a broad approach on marketing towards that certain demographic, which is why the X Games marketing and economic outlook is so "out of the box." According to ESPN (2008), in the Winter X Games inaugural year, 1997, 38,000 spectators attended the four-day event. In 1998, the attendance dropped to 25,000 spectators. But just two years later, a record attendance of 83,500 people attended the Winter X Games' East Coast debut. The X Games and Winter X Games continue to grow with the popularity of action sports and the athletes who compete in them.

As part of the X Games, there have been performances by various rock bands over the years, as well as a DJ being on-site at all events. The X Games have made it a point since its founding to stage an eco-friendly event. Such measures include using biodiesel fuel in their vehicles and organizing recycling campaigns.[1]

The X Games has never done drug tests to competitors, which has been criticized by the World Anti-Doping Agency director general David Howman and the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.[2][3][4]

Winter X Games

Variation of X Games logo, used for Winter X Games

The Winter X Games VIII in 2002 was the first an X Games event was televised live and also had coverage by ESPN's flagship news program, SportsCenter. Viewership across the three networks that carried coverage of the event – ABC Sports, ESPN, and ESPN2 – exceeded 2001's household average by 30% according to Nielsen Media Research. The event also reached record highs in several demographic categories. To accommodate the first-time live coverage, nighttime competitions were added, resulting in record attendance for the Aspen/Snowmass venue.

The 2002 Winter X Games was a huge year for ESPN and the X Games. It was the first year that the games were held in Aspen Colorado at Buttermilk Mountain. The Games continued to add new events including the ski slopestyle event, ski superpose event, snowboarding, skateboarding etc. The most memorable incident of the 2002 Games was when the entire 2002 U.S. Olympic freestyle snowboarding team showed up to compete in the Winter X snowboard superpipe event, just weeks before the Salt Lake City Olympics. Also in 2002, ESPN announced the establishment of the X Games Global Championship. The Global Championship featured two distinct venues hosting competitions in summer and winter action sports simultaneously. It consisted of six teams of the World's top athletes, grouped together by their region of origin, to compete in the four-day event. The winter sports were held in Whistler Blackcomb Resort in British Columbia, and the events included snowboarding and skiing.

The Winter X Games are held in January or February (usually in January) and the Summer X Games are usually held in August, both in the United States. The location of the Winter X Games is in Aspen, Colorado through 2019, while the location for the Summer X Games has been in Los Angeles, changing to Austin in June 2014. The X Games also has international competitions and demos around the world that are held at varying times throughout the year. The games are shown live on television.

The Winter X Games are, as described by ESPN (2008), a competition compiled of the greatest winter action sport athletes from around the world competing on an annual basis. The competition has day and evening events including skiing, snowboarding and snowmobiling. The first Winter X Games took place at Mountain Resort in Big Bear Lake, California, in 1997. The following two years, the Games were held at Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado. The two years following that, the Games were held in Mount Snow, Vermont. Since 2002, the Winter X Games have been held at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colorado and, according to ESPN, they will continue to be held there until 2019.

During 2015's Winter X Games, ESPN used camera drones to capture aerial views of the athlete's runs. This was a first for ESPN.[5]

Global expansion

X Games Asia have been held annually since 1998.

From May 16 to 18, 2003, the X Games held a special event called the Global Championships, where five continents (two countries in North America) competed in 11 disciplines. The event was held in two locations, the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas (where 7 of the events, including in-line skating, skateboarding, BMX and freestyle motocross were held), as well as in Whistler, British Columbia (where the superpipe events for snowboarding and skiing took place).[6][7] The final team results were: (1) Canada, (2) U.S.A., (3) Europe, (4) Australia, (5) Asia, (6) South America.

In May 2011, ESPN held a bid to select three host cities in addition to Los Angeles, Aspen and Tignes, to form a six-event calendar for the next three years beginning in 2013.[8] In May 2012, the selected cities were announced: Barcelona, Spain; Munich, Germany; and Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil.[9] The two European cities have hosted Summer Olympics in the past, whereas Brazil has provided several X Games competitors.[10] ESPN, despite previous plans for a three-year run, opted to cancel the global expansion after 2013.[11][12] Since 2010, Winter X Games Europe have been held in Tignes, France.


Current Summer
Flat Track
  • Moto X Flat Track
Moto X
  • Moto X Speed & Style
  • Moto X Best Whip
  • Moto X Freestyle
  • Men's Moto X Endurocross
  • Women's Moto X Endurocross
  • Moto X Step Up
  • Moto X Adaptive Racing
  • Men's Moto X Racing
  • Women's Moto X Racing
  • Moto X Quarterpipe
Mountain Bike
  • Mountain Bike Slopestyle
  • Skateboard Vert
  • Men's Skateboard Park
  • Women's Skateboard Park
  • Street League Skateboarding
  • SLS Select Series
  • Women's Skateboard Street
  • Skateboard Big Air
  • BMX Vert
  • BMX Park
  • BMX Street
  • BMX Big Air
  • BMX Dirt
Real Video Series
  • Real Surf
  • Real Women
  • Real Street
  • Real Moto
Red Bull Phenom
  • Mountain Bike Slopestyle
  • Skateboard Street
  • BMX Street

Current Winter
  • Ski Big Air
  • Men's Ski Slopestyle
  • Women's Ski Slopestyle
  • Men's Ski Superpipe
  • Women's Ski Superpipe
  • Snowboard Big Air
  • Women's Snowboard Slopestyle
  • Men's Snowboard Slopestyle
  • Men's Snowboard Superpipe
  • Women's Snowboard Superpipe
  • Men's Snowboard X
  • Women's Snowboard X
  • Snowmobile Freestyle
  • Snowmobile Speed & Style
  • Snocross
  • Snocross Adaptive
Real Video Series
  • Real Snow
  • Real Snow Backcountry
  • Real Ski Backcountry

Past Summer
Aggressive inline skating
  • BMX Flatland
  • BMX Downhill
  • BMX Vert Doubles
  • BMX Vert Best Trick
Rally & Off-Road Truck
  • Skateboard Big Air Rail Jam
  • Downhill Skateboarding
  • Skateboard Vert Doubles
  • Women's Skateboard Vert
  • Skateboard Vert Best Trick
  • Skateboard Game of SK8

Past Winter
  • Super Modified Snow Shovel Racing
  • Snow Mountain Bike Racing
  • Skiboarding
  • Ice climbing
  • Ultracross
  • Snowskating
  • Hillcross
  • Snowmobile Best Trick
  • Men's Skier X
  • Women's Skier X
  • Mono Skier X


Brian Deegan at X Games 17 in Los Angeles competing in the Moto X Step Up event.

Summarized from EXPN.com[13]

Summer X Games

Winter X Games


YearSummerWinterAsiaEurope (Summer) Europe (Winter) Latin America
1995United States Newport, Rhode IslandUnited States Stowe, Vermont 
1996United States Newport, Rhode IslandUnited States Stowe, Vermont 
1997United States San Diego, CaliforniaUnited States Big Bear Lake, California 
1998United States San Diego, CaliforniaUnited States Crested Butte, ColoradoThailand Phuket 
1999United States San Francisco, CaliforniaUnited States Crested Butte, ColoradoThailand Phuket 
2000United States San Francisco, CaliforniaUnited States Mount Snow, VermontThailand Phuket 
2001United States Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States Mount Snow, VermontThailand Phuket 
2002United States PhiladelphiaUnited States AspenMalaysia Kuala Lumpur 
2003United States Los AngelesUnited States AspenMalaysia Kuala Lumpur 
2004United States Los AngelesUnited States AspenMalaysia Kuala Lumpur 
2005United States Los AngelesUnited States AspenSouth Korea Seoul 
2006United States Los AngelesUnited States AspenMalaysia Kuala Lumpur 
2007United States Los AngelesUnited States AspenChina Shanghai Mexico México City
2008United States Los AngelesUnited States AspenChina Shanghai Mexico México City
2009United States Los AngelesUnited States AspenChina Shanghai 
2010United States Los AngelesUnited States AspenChina Shanghai France Tignes
2011United States Los AngelesUnited States AspenChina Shanghai France Tignes
2012United States Los AngelesUnited States AspenChina Shanghai France Tignes
2013United States Los AngelesUnited States AspenChina ShanghaiSpain BarcelonaGermany MunichFrance TignesBrazil Foz do Iguaçu
2014United States Austin, TexasUnited States AspenChina Shanghai 
2015United States Austin United States Aspen  
2016United States Austin United States Aspen NorwayOslo Norway Oslo[21]
2017United States Minneapolis United States Aspen Norway Hafjell
2018United States Minneapolis United States Aspen  


  1. Coryell, Grace. "ESPN's working hard to keep the Winter X Games green". ESPN. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  2. WADA Statement on X Games in Norway – World Anti-Doping Agency, February 22, 2016
  3. ESPN pushing ahead with X Games Oslo despite criticism of drug-testing policy – Ben Fischer, Sports Business Daily, February 22, 2016
  4. Bach Blasts X Games Oslo for No Drug Testing – Around the Ring, February 21, 2016
  5. Edgar Alvarez. "ESPN is bringing camera drones to the X Games". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  6. "Teams Unveiled For X Games Global Championship". Ride BMX. April 1, 2003. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  7. "ESPN To Stage X Games Global Championship". TransWorld SNOWboarding. May 28, 2002. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  8. ESPN announces bid process for the X Games and Winter X Games Archived April 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. – ESPN, May 17, 2011
  9. Devon O'Neil, X Games expands globally, Xgames.com, May 1, 2012
  10. Katie Moses-Swope. "Save the Date: Announcement of Three New Cities to Join X Games Global Expansion – ESPN MediaZone". ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  11. Danny Chi. "X GAMES ANNOUNCEMENT – ESPN MediaZone". ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  12. "ESPN to drop International X Games competitions, cut jobs". Reuters. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  13. "About International X Games". Archived from the original on 2007. Retrieved 2010-04-03.
  14. "EXPN.com – Summer X Games 2001 – 2000 Skateboarding Results". Archived from the original on May 22, 2001. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  15. "X Games moves to downtown Los Angeles, July 29-Aug. 1, 2010". ESPN.com. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  16. "X Games and action sports videos, photos, athletes, events, original series, news and more". X Games. Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  17. "Britains Doran Leaps To X Games Gold Medal". The Checkered Flag. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  18. Bob Burnquist Lands Lien Air 720 in Big Air. YouTube. April 18, 2013. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  19. "X Games Aspen – Henrik Harlaut wins Ski Big Air final". X Games. Retrieved August 6, 2015.
  20. "Snowmobiler Moore dies week after crash in Winter X Games". cbssports.com. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  21. "X Games is coming to Oslo in February 2016". X Games. September 1, 2015. Retrieved January 1, 2016.
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