The countdown is on for X Games Barcelona (May 16-19), but another action sport competition is already underway.
Complementing the X Games onsite competition is the Real Series, a group of featured videos on XGames.com, showcasing talented action sports athletes in their element. Not only can fans vote on their favorites, but X Games judges award medals for the video performances, as well.
“I was approached about doing a skateboarding video contest in 2009,” said Senior Director of Content Strategy for X Games, Tim Reed. “After multiple discussions and brainstorms, we settled on the Real Street concept and officially launched it as part of X Games LA 2010.”
As the X Games franchise grew, so did the popularity of the Real Series, which introduced Real Snow and Real Snow Backcountry in 2011-2012. With the X Games’ global expansion in 2013, the series has grown to include six disciplines (see sidebar).[box color=blue size=small align=right]
Three completed video series include Real Snow (Aspen), Real Ski BackCountry (Tignes), and Real Surf (Foz do Iguaçu). Real Women is running concurrently with X Games Barcelona and the final two contests will be Real Street (Munich) and Real Snow Backcountry (LA).[/box]
“There are incredibly talented, high-level, high-profile professional athletes in our world [skate, surf, snowboarding and skiing],” said ESPN.com Editor Melissa Larsen. “They make videos and have legions of fans, but no one in the X Games world knows about them because they don’t participate in traditional contests. The Real Series is a way to get them involved with the X Games organically and introduce them to a new audience.”
Athletes who are selected work with an editor on their submission, which is posted online three weeks before their respective X Games event. Fans vote, advancing the videos in a bracket-like contest. The Fan Favorite prize is awarded to the winner on the last day of the event. Additionally, the videos are scored by X Games official judges to determine the gold, silver and bronze medalists in each category.
Larsen notes Real Snow and Real Street are the most popular because they’ve been running the longest, but engagement has been high throughout the Real Series. There were nearly 700,000 votes through the entire contest of Real Snow.
“The Real Series makes sense from an execution standpoint in that it is an event that can work across multiple platforms,” Reed said. “It has a digital, social and linear presence, while acting as a great promotion for the X Games events at the same time.”
Editor’s Note: The current Real Series, Real Women, is in the second round of voting and has been narrowed down to four videos. Fans can vote here for their favorites until 2:59 a.m. ET on Tuesday, May 14. The final round will run from May 14-19.