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).
The NFL, Coca-Cola and Sprint will team-up again to
present The NFL Experience, January 16-18 and 22-25,
adjacent to the Super Bowl in San Diego. The NFL Experience
features a combination of more than 50 interactive games,
displays and entertainment attractions. More than 125,000
fans are expected to attend over the event's two weekends
(NFL Experience). FL-based Entry Media has reached
agreement with NFLP which will bring Turnstile Advertising,
with Turnstile AdSleeve Armcovers, to the NFL Experience
during the Super Bowl. Coca-Cola and Sprint will be the
sponsors on the turnstiles (Entry Media).
The NHL "hopes to draw about 50,000 fans" to the
Pinnacle.NHL FANtasy "interactive hockey theme park" at the
Pacific Coliseum, according to John MacKie of the VANCOUVER
SUN. The exhibition takes up 250,000-square-feet of space
in five Pacific National Exhibition buildings. Interactive
displays allow fans to test their goaltending skills, clock
their slapshot or test their stickhandling ability. MacKie
wrote that the "biggest lure" is getting your photo taken
with the Stanley Cup for $5, or free with your own camera
(VANCOUVER SUN, 1/15). The PROVINCE's Paul Chapman reported
that sales from the '98 FANtasy "have already surpassed"
sales from events in Boston and San Jose. Chapman: "No
matter how crazy they got in San Jose's Shark Tank, there's
no mistaking Vancouver is a hockey town" (PROVINCE, 1/14).
HOT SHOT: Wayne King, a 37-year-old electronics
technician from Dayton, OH, will have the chance to win $5M
in the Norelco/NHL SuperSkills $5 Million Challenge. King
will take four shots at four targets in eight seconds. For
each target he hits, he will win $1M. If he hits all four,
he wins $5M. The event will take place during ESPN's "All-
Star Saturday" Skills Competition (Norelco).