For years, extreme sports had little to nothing in common with each other except for high risk, and an appeal to women and men from the ages of 12 to 34. Entertainment Sports Programming Network (ESPN), realizing this age group was a prime viewing audience, brought together several extreme sports and created yet another commercialized sporting spectacle. Since 1995, this television network has produced the Summer X Games. After these summer productions proved to be successful television and live spectator events, ESPN expanded into the winter extreme sports. The Winter X Games have been produced since 1997. This paper, which commences with the rise of extreme sports, is an historical and sociological analysis of the creation and growth of the ESPN X Games. While these commercialized adventure and extreme sporting events have had some obvious growing pains, both the Summer and Winter X Games have grown into events which annually attract thousands of spectators and viewers while offering fame and a few dollars to their participants.
One need only take a quick glance at the daily news to discover that society in general is still in a state of constant change (Leonard, 1993). In the United States, this is especially true as the baby boomers begin to age and the new generation comes of age. In particular, social scientists define the emerging generation of youth, which has been labeled the X Generation, as extremists who at times defy both logic and protocol (Terrazas, 1998). Popular culture is a reflection of these attitudes, from the music of Marilyn Manson to the newly released video, There’s Something about Mary. Furthermore, this new gener...
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...ents. (1996). [On-line]. Available: http://espn.go.com/editors/xgames/960925winterx.html
Winter X Games facts. (1998). [On-line]. Available: http://espn.go.com/xgames/winterx98/facts.html
X Games fact sheet. (1996). [On-line]. Available: http://espn.go.com/editors/xgames/fact.html
X Games moving to San Diego. (1997). [On-line]. Available: http://espn.go.com/editors/xgames/0710sd.html
X Games TV schedule. (1996). [On-line]. Available: http://espn.go.com/editors/xgames/0429pr2.html
Youngblut, S. (Ed.). (1998). Way inside ESPN's X Games. New York: Hyperion.
Zipp, J. F. (1997). Spring Training. In Noll, R. G. & Zimbalist, A. (Eds.), Sports, jobs & taxes (pp. 427-451). Washington: Brookings Institution.
1This quotation, and others like it, is from Internet web pages. These sources do not contain page numbers, as none appear on the site.
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