There has been a lot of comment, talk, buzz, texting, and Tweeting about Endurocrosss (EnduroX) at ESPN’s recent X Games 17 in Los Angeles. EnduroX was new to X Games. And not only was there a ‘normal’ Endurocross, there was a Women’s race added as well.
And as far as we can tell, it was a huge success. We were there! (You can see Supercross.com’s coverage of X Games Day 4, which highlighted both Men’s and Women’s EnduroX, here.)
Since there has been so much buzz regarding Endurocross, we decided to “redux” it.
First, let’s go back a bit. Remember the feature we did on Eric Peronnard? (It’s here for you to read.) Eric is the primary force behind Endurocross. Eric, among other things, invented the US Open of Supercross in Las Vegas. Mini Moto SX (Supercross), and Endurocross.
We asked Eric about Endurocross and specifically EnduroX at ESPN’s X Games 2011.
How did EnduroX happen come about?
Eric: Since the creation of Endurocross in 2004 I knew we had something great with tremendous legs. My experience with European exhibition Supercross races, the US Open of Supercross, Minimoto SX and Endurocross taught me a lot about the tremendous potential events can have, and Endurocross had plenty.
In 2005 I invited people from ESPN and the X Games head of sports and competition – Tim Reed, to the second annual Endurocross in Las Vegas.
He left the show very impressed, and we started a relationship that would ultimately lead to EnduroX at X Games 17 (a big thanks to Tim for trusting me and having so much faith in the project)!
Much went on over the next few years, and, the final decision of having EnduroX at X Games 17 came under secrecy late last year.
Really though, all that stuff is kind of boring for the off-road fan compared to the electricity and success we had with EnduroX at X Games 17!
It’s almost hard to fully comprehend what really took place. Imagine this: Having an off-road motorcycle race in the middle of downtown L.A. in no less than the Staples Center Arena (home of the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers)!
Overall, X Games had 140,000 fans over a few days, watching and participating (in their own way) in extreme sports action and millions of TV viewers!
Even now, a few weeks removed from X Games, I don’t think we have realized yet what happened as far as exposing off-road motorcycle racing to the world. ESPN helps athletes, including our athletes, get more exposure than some have in years.
And I’m very proud of our riders in EnduroX, men and women. They are truly the finest riders around and I think everybody is starting to recognize that!
What did it take to put it together?
Eric: There was not an “easy button”! EnduroX is “the culture of efforts”. Nothing is easy for promoters and then for the riders.
For example, just putting together the track – we had only ten hours to build the track from the “speed and style” track the night before – It usually takes us at least three to four days to build! 3,500 cubic yards of dirt, 100 tons of rocks, 1000 linear feet of logs, a concrete pond and a lot of diesel fuel and sweat are the ingredients of a proper and challenging EnduroX track. Fortunately the dirt was already in the stadium but I could not say enough good things about the entire team and especially “Schaeffer Tracks”! Everybody worked like maniacs!
Enduro X is not for everybody, from building it to riding it and winning it, you have to be quite insane. (Laughs) But on July 31st all efforts paid off! When the sun rose over L.A.’s Staple Center and the track was completed we already had a successful day.
What mainstream exposure did the sport get?
Eric: First and foremost we got the biggest live audience ever for an off-road motorcycle race (outside of Supercross).
14,000 spectators cheering and doing standing ovations for the women and men’s class alike cannot be wrong!
I kept receiving email and text messages telling me the filming was great and from people that had never seen an Endurocross before.
Hundreds of thousands of viewers were watching the Enduro X on TV and millions did worldwide. Just on YouTube we had over a million hits on the recap the day after the race. And we saw what Supercross.com did, not only for promoting the EnduroX, but also all of the X Games.
The numbers are really amazing.
Maria Forsberg was then in Rolling Stone Magazine. Taddy Blazusiak got a lot of publicity all over the world, including his native Poland. That’s just a brief mention of some of the things that happened with and after EnduroX.
We are still measuring the results and success of reaching the mainstream. It’s been quite impressive so far. I have received so many messages, e-mails, phone calls, and texts from people that have never ‘experienced’ Endurocross before, but were so impressed with what they saw on television.
Let me mention about the riders. Taddy Blazusiak is simply the “GOAT” of extreme off-road racing and got the Gold medal he could not loose. The Silver medal finalist is simply made out of concrete! Mike Brown! Arguably the toughest guy in off-road racing, he has won in Supercross, Motocross, off road and now has a Silver medal under his belt, a true American champion!
Justin Soule (Bronze) is pure youth and talent! He finished third at last year’s championship and retained his spot at X … a rider to watch.
Check what former Supercross Champion, MX Champion and USA Motocross of Nations winning team member Johnny “O-Show” O’ Mara had to say about EnduroX: “I had heard about EnduroCross for a while now, so I was very excited to watch the final event at the X Games! It did not let me down one bit! I was truly amazed at the event on how tough it was to even ride one lap around that type of course! Taddy Blazusiak completely blew me away with his skills and toughness riding a motorcycle! Of course I’m always pulling for my good friend Mike Brown so I was very happy to see him finish second, proving his all around motorcycle skills in anything he competes in! By far the EnduroCross will always be my favorite event to watch in the future!”
What about the Women’s class!
Eric: The Women’s Class was the cherry on the pie!
Unbelievable determination got the Women’s Class a standing ovation from the entire Staples Center.
Maria Forsberg was the favorite and got the Gold rightfully so, but Tarah Gieger (the Silver in Moto X the day before) was quite impressive as well getting another Silver medal. Bronze went to Kacy Martinez, another great off-road champion!
I know some people were not respectful of our lady racers but I would simply tell them to enter an Endurocross (amateur class) at a location near them!
And after that …. I’m sure those folks will have much more respect!
Let me share with you ESPN’s overall impression of X Games 17 Los Angeles: During X Games 17, held in Los Angeles July 28 – 31, fans were able to consume original X Games content on more platforms than ever before, and digital content consumption showed continued and significant growth. In addition, 37 million people tuned into television coverage across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC – up six percent from last year (35 million).The event’s successes also included the highest attendance in seven years as well as record usage on ESPN3.com and the company’s other digital platforms, including espn.com/action, xgames.com, mobile devices, Facebook, Twitter and more.
ESPN televised 25 hours of live HD X Games programming on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC, while ESPN 3D televised 21 hours live. A total of 29 hours of content was also distributed across ESPN’s digital platforms, including ESPN3.com, ESPN.com/action, XGames.com and ESPN Mobile TV. Original content, results and updates were also distributed through the X Games social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr. Outside the United States, X Games content was delivered to more than 232 million homes and live to 192 countries and territories, including Africa, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean, Europe, Israel, Latin America, Mexico, Middle East and New Zealand.
On Saturday, July 30, ESPN debuted X Cast. The live X Games webcast was simultaneously streamed alongside that afternoon’s telecasts, offering fans a companion screen experience to enhance engagement. X Cast featured compelling and unique content, live athlete chats, reporters providing behind the scenes commentary and much more.
Online – X Games 17 digital content on ESPN.com, ESPN 3.com, and ESPN Mobile delivered double-digit percentage growth in usage across the board compared to last year during the four-day event (July 28 – 31).
ESPN.com/Action averaged 253,000 daily unique visitors with an average time spent of 7.4 minutes, up 61 percent and 13 percent respectively compared to X Games 16. It also averaged 290,000 visits a day during the X Games, up 55 percent over what Winter X Games 15 averaged in January 2011. For the entire month of July, the section logged 2.3 million visits, making it the most visited month ever for the Action section. Live coverage on ESPN3.com, ESPNnetworks.com and WatchESPN logged over 5.3 million minutes consumed of X Games content, up 74% compared to last year. The X Cast companion screen experience on Saturday afternoon, July 30, generated 462,000 viewer minutes and 81,000 streams from 25,000 unique viewers.
Facebook – The X Games page on Facebook saw a nearly four-fold increase (up 284 percent) in “likes” and comments compared to the same days last year. Post views for the page were up more than double (112 percent) from the same time period last year and rose to more than 18.7 million. Unique users rose more than nine times (up 838 percent) compared to last year’s X Games 16 and the number of fans of the page increased to more than 2.2 million.
Twitter – The X Games twitter name @ XGames was mentioned more than 20,000 times during the fourdays of competition. # XGames was tweeted 69,000 times and reached more than 21 million people. Additionally, ESPN’s X Games Human Twitter campaign generated 1,300 tweets and reached more than eight million people. Notable celebrities tweeting about the X Games included P Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Lupe Fiasco, Travis Barker and Lil Wayne. ESPN’s Twitter feed featured event updates, breaking news, competition results and a behind-the-scenes look at X Games 17 athletes and courses. X Games followers on Twitter increased by more than 10,000 during the four days of the X Games, The @ XGames twitter account had seven tweets re-tweeted more than 100 times.
YouTube – The X Games channel on YouTube had its most trafficked week ever with more than 1.8 million video views. Video views were up 192 percent from the same time period last year. The X Games channel averaged close to half a million video views per day on each of the four days of the event and more than 6.6 million total views from July 25-August 7.
Mobile – The X Games 17 app on iOS and Android mobile devices averaged 46,000 daily unique visitors during the X Games. The app also reached the #1 spot in the Sports Category of the App Store amongst free downloads on Saturday. The app was downloaded 99,000 times during the four days of coverage (July 28 – 31). Fans also tuned in while on the go during the four days of X, which drove average daily unique visitors to the ESPN mobile Web to 3.7 million, up 36 percent compared to the same four days last year. The mobile Web homepage alone was up 24 percent in daily unique visitors with an average of 2.2. million, bringing in 4.2 million average daily visits from Thursday – Sunday.
Television – Despite three fewer hours of coverage, 37 million people tuned into X Games programming at some point this year – up 6% from last year (35 million). X Games 17 delivered a 0.6 U.S. rating, averaging 732,000 households and 1,039,000 viewers (P2+) across ABC, ESPN and ESPN2. The number of viewers rose five percent from last year. The Sunday afternoon ESPN telecast on July 31 delivered a 1.34 HH coverage rating and averaged 1,945,000 viewers. It was the second-most viewed summer X telecast ever on ESPN (behind the Sunday afternoon telecast on 8/20/2000).
Attendance – The X Games 17 total attendance in Los Angeles was 141,500 – an increase from 2010 and the highest record attendance since X Games 10 in 2004.
OK, Eric, final question. What does ESPN think about Endurocross?
Eric: Unless everybody was lying to me … they were ecstatic about the success of EnduroX! X games 17 was the best X games in 10 years for ratings and more, as described above. And I think we helped from our two-wheeled side to make it better as well! We should be back next year at the Staples Center as part of the X Games 18 with Enduro X!!
Here is the schedule for the remaining Endurocross 2011 races:
- Aug 26 ?- Pepsi Coliseum, Indianapolis, IN (Friday)
- Sept 17 ?- Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, CA
- Oct 1 ?- National Western Complex, Denver, CO
- Oct 22 ?- Idaho Center, Boise, ID
- Nov 19 ?- Orleans Arena, Las Vegas, NV
Maria, Eric, Taddy – X Games 17 Enduro X Gold!