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This History of X Games

A History of the X Games part one


X Games 2014
Ezra Shaw/Staff/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
Updated July 03, 2014
The story of the X Games begins in 1993 and evolves to 2003 with the start of X Games IX in L.A. This is a brief timeline on how the X Games arrived as the world’s signature action sports brand.

1993 ESPN management decides to devote significant resources to the creation of an international gathering of action sport athletes. A team assembles to develop the concept.

1994 At a press conference at Planet Hollywood in New York City on April 12, ESPN announces that the first Extreme Games will be held in Rhode Island in June of 1995.

1995 From June 24 through July 1, the Extreme Games are held in Newport, Providence and Middletown, R.I., and Mount Snow, Vt. Athletes compete in 27 events in nine sport categories: Bungy Jumping, Eco-Challenge, In-line Skating, Skateboarding, Skysurfing, Sport Climbing, Street Luge, Biking and Water Sports.

    198,000 spectators attend the first Extreme Games. Seven sponsors -- Advil, Mountain Dew, Taco Bell, Chevy Trucks, AT&T, Nike and Miller Lite Ice -- lend their support to the event.

    After enthusiastic response from the athletes, organizers, spectators and sponsors, ESPN decides to hold the event the following year, instead of every two years as originally announced. In October, it is announced that Rhode Island would be the location for the 1996 event.

1996 In January, the event name Extreme Games officially changes to the X Games. The primary reasons for the change are to allow easier translation to international audiences and better branding opportunities.

    In late June, approximately 200,000 spectators turn out for X Games II in Newport, R.I. Kiteskiing, windsurfing and mountain biking are replaced by wakeboarding.

    The site of the first-ever Winter X Games is announced at a press conference on June 30. Snow Summit Mountain Resort in Big Bear Lake, Calif., would host competitions in snowboarding, ice climbing, snow mountain bike racing, super-modified shovel racing and a crossover multi-sport event.

1997 From January 30 through February 2, the inaugural Winter X Games are televised to 198 countries and territories in 21 different languages. This is the first year that ABC Sports broadcasts an X Games event. More than 38,000 spectators make the trek to Big Bear Lake for four days of competition.

    In March, the X Trials, a qualifying event for the X Games, begin in Providence, R.I. Additional X Games qualifying events, including the B3 and EXPN Invitational, are held each summer through 2002 in cities including Orlando, Fla., Louisville, Ky.; St. Petersburg, Fla.; Virginia Beach, Va.; Richmond, Va.; Lake Havasu, Ariz.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Bristol, Conn.

    From June 20 through June 28, a record crowd of 221,000 fans watches X Games III in San Diego and Oceanside, Calif. Snowboard Big Air amazes on-lookers with a 10-story jump comprised of hundreds of tons of manmade snow.

    In September, the X Games Xperience road show travels to Disneyland Paris, France. Xperience is held in conjunction with Eurosport.

1998 Approximately 25,000 spectators gather over four days in January at Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colo., for Winter X Games II. New sports include Freeskiing, Snowmobile SnoCross and Skiboarding.

    In April, the first-ever international X Games qualifying event is held. The Asian X Games features 200 athletes from the Pacific Rim competing in Phuket, Thailand for a limited amount of spots at X Games IV in San Diego.

    In June, the X Games tops its attendance mark for the fourth consecutive year as more than 233,000 spectators flock to Mariner’s Point in San Diego X Games IV.

1999 Crested Butte is once again the site for Winter X Games III. More than 30,000 attend the event in January, which features more disciplines, including women’s Freeskiing.

    From June 27 - July 4, X Games V in San Francisco attracts nearly 275,000 spectators. Those in attendance were treated to Tony Hawk’s first-ever “skateboarding 900” and the X Games debut of Moto X.

    ESPN announces that the X Games will now be held in August to allow for new marketing and programming opportunities.

2000 Winter X Games IV are held February 3-6 in Mount Snow, Vt. The first Winter X of the millennium features the largest crowds to date - 83,500 - and the debut of Winter X on the East Coast. The new Snowboard SuperPipe competition is added.

    June through July, some of the world’s top skateboarders and BMX athletes hit the road traveling to skate parks across the United States as part of the inaugural Tony Hawk Gigantic Skatepark Tour, which is televised documentary-style on ESPN2.

    X Games VI takes place August 17-22 in San Francisco on Piers 30/32. A Moto X Step-Up competition is added. Announcements are made regarding the launch of several new ventures, including the Action Sports and Music Awards, International X Games Qualifiers and more.

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