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World X-GAMES Asia 2012
X-GAMES Grows in Popularity at Home and Abroad


By Zhao Bo

The balance of contestants is tested in roller skating street race

On the 10-meter jumping platform, X-motorcycles move as quickly as a flash. With both hands sticking to the handlebars, X-contestants leap with their body like a swallow, and that let the audience get to know what is “playing with heartbeats”.

During the May Day Holiday, 80-year-old Jiangwan Stadium was filled with youthful atmosphere. Despite the drizzling weather these days, the popularity of 2012 World X-Games Asia is still undiminished. According to the statistics last night, there were 67,600 audiences on the scene in the 4-day competition, which hit a record high. The X-Games, originally growing with popularity abroad, now flourishes for being well liked by both domestic and overseas people.

Enjoy World-wide Reputation for 320 million Audiences with the Aid of Media

As one of the sponsors, ESPN, the most professional sports rebroadcasting network in the world, settled around the globe to support the X-Games.

According to Director Chen Qiaoxin of the Department of North-eastern Asia Events of ESPNSTAR, during the three days when the world X-GAMES Asia was formally held, 3-hour live shows about the competition were broadcasted by ESPN, covering many countries and regions in Asia and Oceania. In the USA, live shows were broadcasted through the Internet, and “audience ratings are great”.

Apart from the live shows, eight items in three events were recorded by ESPN. “On average, every item has a half-an-hour essential program recorded on the ESPN network in Asia and around the globe.” According to Chen Qiaoxin, the broadcasting time for the competition was nearly 1,000 hours last year. According to statistics previously published by ESPN, the number of people who watched the competition through TV and the Internet exceeded 320 million, and the media exposure value reached over RMB100 million.

ESPN opened a window for the world. The characters of “Shanghai Yangpu” could be seen everywhere inside and outside the stadium. Based on the previous statistics, during the rebroadcasting period, the exposure time of “Shanghai” and “Yangpu” on view screen was 83 minutes, and the four characters were also casted on the screens of billions of TVs around the globe along with the rebroadcasting signal. In this way, Yangpu, Shanghai went global.

Deputy Governor Wu Qianyu of Yangpu District recalled an interesting story. At one time, when she was conducting a survey on New Zealand, she met with a group of children on skateboards. She asked them whether to know where the world X-GAMES was held, and the children answered with naive voices, “In Yangpu, Shanghai, China”.

Eighth Reason for Touring Shanghai, Win-win Situation Achieved in Business and Tourism through Sports

Through the platform built by the X-GAMES, Yangpu District connected sports events with business, tourism and culture, thus achieving a multilateral win-win situation. Among the 60,000 on-the-scene audiences watching the X-GAMES this year, there were 2,000 tourists from across the country.

Based on the introduction of Deputy Director Hu Xing of the Yangpu District Sports Bureau, since the beginning of the competition, Yangpu District has started to explore a combination of sports and tourism, and to create an “X-GAMES Carnival”. Since this year, the district has negotiated with five Shanghai-based travel agencies, and hoped that tourists can come to the racing field and experience the charm of the X-GAMES. Among the 2,000 tourists were 8 bosses of travel agencies, who would paved the way for “Domestic X-travel” to be launched next year.

While “Domestic X-travel” is just started, it is already popular abroad. Among the “20 reasons for visiting Shanghai” published by an authoritative journal abroad, X-games ranks the eighth for the reason of being “thrilling, exciting, heart-beating, world top event and charming”.

What is the charm? A Shanghai-based audience Li Yunkun brought here all three members of his family. He said that he fell in love with X-games by accident. When the competition was held here on the first day, his one-year-old son was attracted by the rumbling sound of motorcycles with black glittering eyes revolving with jumping motorcycles. The rest of the family thus had to “sacrifice their time to accompany the prince”, and then couldn’t help loving it.

Tim Watson, a guy from Kansas, the USA, said that he had never seen a fascinating skateboard racing like this. “It seems easy, but it’s very hard to stay firm on the feet. They’re brilliant!” He took more than 300 photos on the competition day so that his memory card was full.

Hu Xing said that statistics this year showed that the ratio of local audiences and non-local and foreign audiences is 4 to 6. “Previously the X-GAMES grows at home and becomes popular abroad, while more and more domestic contestants participate in the competition, so do domestic audiences.”

Continued Development with 60,000-plus Enthusiastic Audiences

In the past six years since its opening, X-GAMES have experienced the process of being introduced, grafted and nurtured, and yet now it turned out to be a vibrant and influential event around the globe. In this process, Yangpu has tasted all the bitterness and sweetness of hosting the competition.

“The stadium was deserted at that time and audiences needed to be organized”, Chairman Liu Juemin of the Chinese X-sports Association when recalling the difficulties at the beginning of the competition.

Despite the weak foundations for the competition, Yangpu District determined to start from the beginning. In 2006, the 12,000-square-meter “Shanghai SMP X-sports Park” was built at the New Jiangwan Town, and was entitled “the biggest X-park in the world” by Shanghai Great World Guinness Headquarters.

The domestic promising X-sports players like 10-year-old Gao Qunxiang and 15-year-old Sun Kunkun have settled in Yangpu successively. Russian skateboard master, Salsa, also treats Yangpu as the “second hometown”. Being the host, Yangpu District won over two X-games wild cards, which paved the way for Yangpu local contestants to move toward the world top.

At the same time, numbers of on-the-scene audiences of X-games increase as an upward parabola: 54,000 in 2009, 58,000 in 2010, 62,500 in 2011 and 67,600 in 2012.

Wu Qianyu said that in the past 6 years since X-games was settled in Shanghai, a sustainable development mode of government leadership, market acting as a major role and people’s participation was formed in Yangpu. The successful host of the competition also reflected the district’s city spirit of continuously surpassing, pursuing and challenging limits.

Source: Page 3, Wenhui Daily, May 2, 2012

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