Redbull's money has helped a lot, but if they weren't around, it would just be someone else.
Thing is, is that action sports were starting to blow up right as redbull was entering the market. Who was there first? Mountain Dew. But fortunately for Redbull, the idea of energy drinks were also blowing up at this time and at sugar high and caffeine rush were easily associated with sports that make you do crazy shit. At the same time, soda was becoming unpopular and health risks were coming out and a lot of athletes were quitting soda. So Redbull sort of took Mt Dew's throne in which other companies like sobe, rockstar, monster, vitamin water all joined in.
Redbull of course had a great marketing plan and was already doing flutag events. They had already made a billion dollars when they joined into the action sports market. They came in with money and put their name on everything, right as an industry was blowing up. I came into the industry right as it was blowing up... I had been skiing for years, but my first time on a snowboard was in 1998. I was 13. I was listening to blink 18, shopping in skate shops and taking my first laps on a skate board. Redbull wasn't involved. I want to say it was when I was 16 that redbull first came into my ski lodge trying to get us to carry the beverage. We all sat in back saying how it tasted like diluted pixi sticks and making fun of the warning label that read, may cause constipation. When I was 16, the action sports world was seriously exploding. Snowboarding was about to be in the Olympics, Kelly Slater was already a star. Tony Hawk had done his 900. CKY was becoming famous. Redbull entered at the perfect time to market their brand. But the action sports community would have blown up regardless, and with this, skiing.
I will say that redbull has partaken in some awesomely creative events, but to say those events wouldn't have happened without redbull is somewhat ridiculous. It would have been the Sobe Cold Rush or the Verizon Quarter Pipe.
I'm not knocking redbull, I'm thankful for the money they invest and the level of creativity they have had, but I do believe the void still would have been filled had they chosen to go more mainstream with baseball.