X Games A New Era
MSP SPORTS CAPITAL ACQUIRES A CONTROLLING INTEREST IN X GAMES - SIGNALING A NEW ERA FOR ACTION SPORTS COMPETITION & ENTERTAINMENT ACROSS THE GLOBE
MSP Sports Capital - led by sports industry veterans Jeff Moorad and Jahm Najafi - aims to reimagine the beloved action sports property with unique fan experiences, an expanded calendar, and increased access to the world's premier athletes.
NEW YORK, [October 26, 2022] - MSP Sports Capital today announced it acquired a majority interest from ESPN Productions, Inc., a subsidiary of ESPN, Inc., in X Games, an iconic sports and entertainment property providing a global stage for elite action sports athletes to compete at the highest level. The acquisition is MSP Sports Capital's sixth investment, as the investment firm continues to build a best-in-class sports portfolio, which includes investments in McLaren Racing Limited and a global soccer consortium. ESPN Productions, Inc. will retain a minority, non-controlling position in X Games, and ESPN, Inc. will serve as the domestic linear broadcast partner as part of a multi-year agreement finalized in conjunction with the transaction. MSP will assume day-to-day operational control of the X Games business.
"MSP Sports Capital is excited about the future of X Games and being the new stewards of such an important part of sports history and its reimagined future," said Jeff Moorad, Founder and CEO, MSP Sports Capital.
X Games, founded by ESPN, Inc. in 1995, pioneered action sports entertainment by introducing the world audience to televised high stakes competition. This globally recognized brand has long provided premier athletes a platform to showcase their record-breaking talents across disciplines such as skiing, snowboarding, Moto X, BMX freestyle, and skateboarding. MSP Sports Capital's investment will continue to invigorate X Games events and increase appeal to a digitally native audience seeking expanded access to athletes and community-driven content.
"We're proud of what we've created with our employees and the athletes over nearly 30 years of world-class X Games events and content," said Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content. "We now look forward to an exciting next chapter with MSP Sports Capital, which has a proven track record of excellence in sports and a dynamic vision for the continued growth and progression of the industry-leading action sports brand."
X Games will host X Games Aspen 2023 live from Aspen, Colorado, from January 27-29. Fans will continue to be able to view their favorite action sports competitions on ESPN and ABC networks in the U.S.
"We are bringing our deep-rooted sports expertise to continue the progression and excitement around athletes, competition, fans, and X Games partners," said Jahm Najafi, Founder and Chairman, MSP Sports Capital, and Founder and CEO, The Najafi Companies. MSP Sports Capital will focus on infusing new energy to the brand, prioritizing premiere athlete and fan experiences, and investing in technologies to launch the brand into the future. At the helm of bringing this new vision to life will be Steven Flisler, CEO X Games, who comes with a deep entertainment background in competition, storytelling, and technology. Flisler recently served as the Vice President of Original Content at Twitch and Executive Producer of Twitch Rivals since 2018, and previously held various leadership positions across NBCUniversal where he produced iconic live productions and other globally recognized special events for over a decade. As the new CEO of X Games, Flisler is impassioned to evolve X Games into an even more cherished brand among fans and athletes alike that will continue to redefine what is possible across both action sports and culture.
Legendary athlete Tony Hawk will also join the X Games investor group as a brand steward to help bridge the X Games legacy to the future.
"Skateboarding is part of my DNA and I support a community where change and advances in action sports is happening on a daily basis," said Tony Hawk, 10x X Games Gold Medalist. "Being part of the advisory board for X Games is an extension of my decades of competing and much more forgiving to the body, and I look forward to being constantly inspired by so many incredible athletes."