Death at the X-Games?
This is a repost of a piece I did on a former blog I used to publish. USA Today action sports writer Sal Ruibal contacted me about it earlier today and I realized it might make good fodder here. The post was originally published January 16, 2008.
Is the X-Games ready for tragedy?
Action sports writer Shanti Sosienski just did a piece for Men’s Journal on a new snowmobile event they’re putting on – Speed & Style. Racing snowmobiles and separate events for the freestyle aspect isn’t new to Winter X, but combining the two definitely is.
I think the event is pretty cool, but like anything else in the loosely defined action sports world (note to marketers, no who participates calls them “EXTREME SPORTS”), this is one is up there with the danger factor.
All sports are dangerous, whether they’re competitive or not. X-Games and the Dew Tour have seen their share of injuries. Probably the the one most widely covered was Jake Brown’s fall at the X-Games on the Mega Ramp….
but BMX pro Stephen Murray broke his neck during the Dew Tour, which didn’t seem to get nearly as much play. If anyone reads this and cares to help, you can find out how to donate money to Stephen’s family here:http://www.stephenmurray.org/
As a marketer in action sports and a life-long participant, I hope I never see it, but a death at the X-Games probably will happen sooner or later. Are we ready? I’m wondering what sort of crisis plan ESPN or Mountain Dew have. Likewise, how will a serious injury affect sales at specialty retail? Jake Brown rides for Bern Unlimited skateboard protection. I wonder if they put a plan in place to become champions of head protection after his fall. I wonder if anyone has.
I honestly believe that action sports are no more dangerous than other sports when done right. As a kid, I hurt myself more playing tennis and volleyball than skateboarding. Since the industry is maturing now, I hope the companies involved are preparing for the worst to make the best of a horrible situation.