November 28, 2013
That didn’t last long.
Eighteen months after ESPN trumpeted a global expansion that doubled the number of its events – with first-ever summer X Games in Barcelona, Munich and Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil – the company has ended its international blitz.
On Thursday the network announced it was nixing all international X Games events, including the four-year old Winter X Games in Tignes, France, and dropping the suddenly-dead “Global X” plan from six contests to two, with only Aspen and Austin remaining.
In May 2012, the network announced a global expansion into three international cities, including its first-ever push into South America’s vibrant action-sports scene. The plan called for infusing cultural highlights into the contests, with music and film components aimed at overhauling the X Games brand.
“We call it a transformation from an action-sports competition brand into an action-sports lifestyle brand with relevance to contemporary youth around the world,” said Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president of programming and X Games with ESPN, in the May 1, 2012 announcement.
The network signed three-year contracts promising to host the events in Brazil, Spain and Germany through 2015.
In April the network rolled out the expansion in Foz do Iguacu, Brazil. The next month was Barcelona. Then Munich. The Summer X Games in August ended an 11-year run in Los Angeles and ESPN announced a four-year deal with Austin to host the multi-sport circus at the city’s new 1,500-acre Circuit of the America’s sports complex.
By most accounts, the international contests were successful. Maybe not successful enough.
“We are proud to have run world-class competitions for both the athletes and spectators; however the overall economics of these events do not provide a sustainable future path,” Guglielmino said in a statement released Thursday.
ESPN promised it remained “fully committed” to the X Games and its competitions in Aspen and Austin. Still, Aspen is waiting for word from the network about Winter X contests beyond 2014. The latest two-year contract between Aspen Skiing Co. and ESPN expires after the January 2014 contest, after 13 years of X Games at the ski company’s Buttermilk ski area. Aspen had bid to retain the winter circus. Heavenly and Squaw Valley ski areas in the Lake Tahoe region of California also submitted a joint bid. The network has said an announcement on a potential new Winter X host will land this fall.
November 25, 2013
Unless you have been sleeping under a rock you have probably seen a Ken Block Gymkhana video. For those of you who haven’t, Gymkhana is a style of driving that was developed by ken block and debuted in the original Gymkhana practice video. Gymkhana is best known as being able to drive an all wheel drive vehicle through or around obstacles with a little traction as possible. Starting in what I can only assume was his own DC funded WRX Ken Block has become a well sponsored icon of the Ford racing team and now has backing from sponsors like Need For Speed and GoPro. Ken Block has made a professional driving career that aspired from his original video. He has become a world renounced rally car medalist, almost single handedly gotten rally car racing into the Xgames, and created his own event series GYMKHANA. Ken Block is truly a Cinderella story in the automotive world and has brought rally car driving on to the map in the United States. All this happening while drift car racing was making its huge impact on the american car enthusiasts as well. While neither Ken Block GYMKHANA nor Drifting are my personal styles of driving I do see these styles of driving like art, this type of driving take more patience, tenacity, and know how then most people can start to fathom. Automobiles are built for more then just push the pedal and go, there is a certain feeling you get when its just you and your car pushing the limits.
November 17, 2013
Years ago we told you about Yves Rossey,a.k.a. Jetman, when he managed to pull off some aerial loops and roll himself like a plane while wearing a jet pack, thousands of feet up in the air and at over 200 mph. He was 51 at the time. Rossey must be getting bored. He released another video a few weeks ago and he is jet free this time. Yep. A human glider. (at age 53 to boot!) And apparently there will be an opportunity in the future for you to learn the art of gliding from Jetman himself.
His human glider video (below) will make you stop and say WOW. Not just about the beautiful Swiss scenery. But he drops out of the plane at over 11,000 feet (3,500 meters). He maneuvers his way around peaks and through valleys at about 150mph and even builds up enough speed to regain 300 feet in one fell swoop. Remember, this is all in an unpowered glider! Like with the jet pack he landed safely with assistance of a built-in parachute. The tease Jetman offers at the end of the video is the fact that Jetman Glider School is coming soon. Meaning you could learn from this pilot and inventor. There is no other information given yet, but we’ll stay on it. Maybe you can join me in school!