Tim Reed has been part of the X Games franchise since 1997 so from Hawk to Sheckler to White and beyond, he’s seen the brand evolve. Now leading the charge as the event’s Vice President, The Inertia Mountain sat down with Reed in Aspen to talk about the future of the franchise in the Colorado mountain town. And as conversations often do, it digressed.
So why has Aspen been the choice mountain town for you guys. It seems pretty remote.
It’s actually super-convenient with direct flights from Chicago, LA and other major cities. You can land and be skiing the most epic stuff in 20 minutes. I did a trip here in December and I landed at noon and was up on (Aspen) Highlands by one.
From an event perspective, the resort has four mountains so the town provides so much space for an event to operate and there’s a lot of moving parts with the X Games. Not every resort could host something like this with the snowmaking, the space and the parking required.
What about costs? It isn’t the most inexpensive spot on Earth.
I don’t have comparisons of hotels, food, or how comparable it is resort to resort, but wherever we do this event, all over the world, there’s a significant effort and a lot a facets (and costs).
So you see the X Games in Aspen for some time?
We’re here through 2019, at least. We’ve got three years on this deal and it’s a great place to be.
What about the health of your other X Games properties?
So we’re in Oslo, Norway next month. It’s our only event that’s publicly funded and it’s approved after each year. So we’ll see if it’s approved for 2017. I’m excited for that one. The city provided a warehouse that we’ve built a skate venue in and the pro contest is sold out and the Norwegian qualifiers were sold out. Nyjah Huston, Ryan Sheckler, all the big boys are coming. But it’s no secret, historically, we’re always looking to develop events other places and evaluate opportunities.
Are you trying to mix summer and winter events more?
Ultimately we’re trying to build on a broader strategy: we don’t want to be a two-event brand, summer and winter. We want to build out a year-around focus that’s always on, 365 days. We have our event platform, we can help build stories, we don’t want audiences hearing these names for the first time during winter and summer. We have a lot to offer between X Games, our Real series, a weekly television show and other projects we’re working on.
It seems like the Real Series has resonated well with more of the “soul” set in action sports.
We started the series with Real Street. Skating has always had contest athletes and video guys so it was another way to bring in a different segment of athletes attached to the X Games brand. We show the videos during X Games broadcasts and still hand out gold medals for winners. We have six segments now and even on the video side, giving gold medals is still important to the athletes and they value that even if they’re not at Aspen or Austin.
We had an interview where an athlete said he thinks endemic brands need to get more involved in contests like the Real franchise.
They are really involved. They’re promoting the videos, supporting the athletes day to day. We’re helping with production but what we want to do is bring additional marketing to what they’re doing. It’s awesome content: it’s beautiful from the aesthetic side and from a marketing perspective, it’s a great opportunity for everyone. We all win.