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ESPN GOES TO EXTREMES WITH WINTER X GAMES IN COLORADO
Published January 16, 1998
ESPN kicks off coverage of its Winter X Games today from Crested Butte, CO, on ESPN and ESPN2. ABC will carry an hour of coverage Saturday. The Games end Sunday. THEY GO TO EXTREMES: USA TODAY's Sal Ruibal reported that the Summer and Winter X Games combined have a budget of "just" $15M, "yet they probably will turn a bigger profit for Disney than its NFL telecasts." All available ad slots are purchased, and Nike, AT&T, Mountain Dew, Pringles, Taco Bell and Volkswagen "are locked in for future X Games." ESPN Senior VP Jeff Ruhe: "After three years, we're in the black and turning blacker" (USA TODAY, 1/15). ESPN Coordinating Producer Jamie Reynolds said the net's coverage -- costing $5M -- would not just be "eye candy": "Personality is a huge hook for us" (Colorado Spr GAZETTE TELEGRAPH, 1/16). In Denver, Scott Willoughby reported that with 300 athletes, a temporary staff of more than 1,000 and another 400-plus volunteers, "the X Games are being touted as this winter's biggest sporting event next to the Nagano Olympics." ESPN's broadcast is expected to reach 221 million homes in 120 countries and will be aired in 20 languages. Crested Butte Special Events Dir Gina Kroft, on the Games' impact on the town: "The awareness we've gained just from the [X Games spokesperson] Evel Knievel commercials has already made it worthwhile" (POST, 1/11).