X: Still the Unknown


January 23, most popular for the date of birth of John Hancock, or notable mixed martial arts fighter, Tito Ortiz — or maybe this date doesn’t carry much significance to you at all.

Actually, today marks the commencement of the 2014 winter X Games. Unfortunately, many of you were just as unaware of these birth dates as you were the X Games. Is this a problem?

Certainly, seeing as the sport media as a whole does not seem to think this event carries much significance, why should you the viewer?

About three or four days prior, I saw a small report on ESPN stating that celebrated snowboarder, Shaun White had decided to participate in the games after previously stating he would hold out. This was the first instance in which I had an encountered any discussion about the event. This held true until I saw another similar report just a day before the event, stating that Shaun White had a change of heart and had chose not to partake in the X Games.

These two stories, both centered about White instead of the X Games as a whole, help explain why the interest in the games is so miniscule. The only narrative that ESPN felt to be worthy was that of an individual as opposed to the four-day event in its entirety.

Unfortunately, the X Games preliminary events are all to be shown via ESPN’s online streaming service, ESPN3. It isn’t until 9pm on a Thursday night that you can watch a sponsored event. Even that is merely a rebroadcast placed in an undesirable and inconvenient time slot, fighting for viewership against the Miami Heat basketball game.

The promotion of this large event has been sparse and essentially nonexistent and until ESPN opts against this mindset, the X Games and extreme sports in general will remain a regrettable afterthought.

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About The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project

The Richard A. Maxwell Sport Media Project is a hub for teaching, research, and service related to sport media. The Project benefits students and faculty at Bowling Green State University, and offers outreach and media consulting to area and regional groups that work with student-athletes. Through collaborative efforts of the Sport Management program and the School of Media and Communication, BGSU students have the opportunity to learn such skills as sports writing, reporting, broadcasting, announcing, public relations, media relations, communication management and production. Faculty and other scholars have access to resources about the commercial and sociological aspects of sport.

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