June 2, 2008

ESPN’s X Games Franchise Continues Global Growth

In order to better reflect the ever-increasing global presence of the X Games franchise, ESPN has renamed and reorganized the department that now oversees more than a dozen events, qualifiers, exhibits and competitions annually.  The Global X Events and Development department will focus exclusively on the continued global expansion of X Games events and related opportunities tied to the franchise.

“Global X Events and Development will organize multiple events in 2008, domestically and internationally, and along with and X Games Consumer products, the brand is truly thriving,” said Keith Clinkscales, senior vice president, content development and enterprises, who oversees the newly named group. “The X Games brand has grown exponentially since 1994 and more global expansion is coming.”

Recent International Developments

X Games Brazil

More than 43,000 people gathered from April 25-27 at the Sambodromo do Anhembi for the first-ever ESPN X Games Brazil in Sao Paulo.  ESPN produced 15 hours of original programming for the U.S. audience – a first for an international X event – and a total of nine hours of live programming aired on ESPN’s two television networks in Brazil, ESPN and ESPN Brazil. Complete coverage of the event was also provided on ESPN Brazil’s news and information programs, and live streaming video from X Games Brazil was featured on

X Games Asia

The city of Shanghai hosted KIA X Games Asia for a second consecutive year in early May.  Celebrating the 10th anniversary of Asian X Games events, this year’s field of athletes was greeted by more than 52,800 spectators over four days of competition, musical performances and demonstrations in Moto X. Moto X Step Up was added and was well received by spectators, marking the first time the discipline had been demonstrated live in the People’s Republic of China. The event was televised live from Shanghai’s KIC Jiangwan Stadium on ESPN Asia Networks.

Promotions and New Assignments

Ron Semiao, senior vice president, ESPN Films, who founded and developed the idea of what is now called the X Games (originally called the Extreme Games) in 1994, will continue to serve the global X community as the chief creative X officer for the largest action sports event in the world.  Semiao’s spirited leadership has enabled the X franchise to grow successfully which was proven last month as he was again the creative mind behind the debut of the Moto X World Championships in San Diego. Semiao will continue to distinguish himself within the theatrical category as he takes on his new role with ESPN Films.

Rick Alessandri, managing director, X franchise, since January 2007, will oversee the company’s X Games expansion strategy and operations, both domestically and globally, serving in the X community as essentially the “chief X officer” reporting to Clinkscales.  Alessandri is also responsible for managing and developing new business initiatives that will continue to grow the X Games brand, including

Chris Stiepock has been promoted to vice president and general manager, X Franchise.  In his new role, Stiepock will maintain his responsibilities with the X Games but assumes additional responsibilities in growing the X business globally.  He will oversee the organization and execution of ESPN's owned, organized and televised events, including the X Games, Winter X Games, all International X Games events, and the newly-established Moto X World Championships. Stiepock also oversees action sports programming on ESPN's networks, including the action sports website He will continue to report to Rick Alessandri.

Jack Wienert will continue in his current role as executive director, X Games. Wienert, who assumed his current title in April 2000 now oversees all X Games-related properties including X Games, Winter X Games, Moto X World Championships, International X Games and additional X Games branded properties.  Wienert will continue to report to Rick Alessandri.