For the past eight years, Rich Feinberg oversaw ESPN’s coverage of live NASCAR racing. But with that coverage concluding at the end of the 2014 season, Feinberg was given the opportunity to return to oversight of X Games production, an event close to his heart. He was one of the founders of the event 20 years ago and previously oversaw production through 2006. X Games Aspen runs through Sunday across ESPN platforms.
What does it personally mean to you to be back involved with the X Games as senior coordinating producer?
It’s both a privilege and very, very exciting. I’ve always had a deep passion and love for the X Games, having been involved in it from Day 1 and watching it grow into its own brand and enjoy success over the past 20 years thanks to so many people’s work. I felt very connected to it, so when I found out I was going to get back involved, it was nothing but happiness and joy.
How did you originally become part of the X Games?
It was back in 1994. I was in California doing a roller hockey game for ESPN2 and it was the week I was getting married. [Current Executive Vice President, Programming & Production] John Wildhack, who at the time was head of event production, called to tell me that when I got back, my assignments would be changing and that I would be taking on the role of overseeing the production of a new company initiative called the Extreme Games. He said to me we’re going to be starting an Olympics of MTV Sports.
And I think I said OK, that sounds fun, went off, got married, and when I got back, dove right in. I was one of three people who were originally involved – with the creator, Ron Semiao and Jack Wienert – in taking Ron’s idea, which at the time was basically a paragraph on a piece of paper, and bringing it to fruition.
Your last year of direct involvement was 2006 but while you were doing NASCAR, you didn’t get too far away from the X Games, did you?
Even during the last eight years, I’ve been to seven of the eight Winter Games and have interacted with senior coordinating producer Phil Orlins, who did such a fantastic job overseeing the production. Even though I wasn’t officially involved, I tried to stay as attached to it as I could.
EDITOR’S NOTE: As Front Row reported Wednesday, X Games Aspen coverage features innovative use of drone cameras. Below is video of some of the drone testing.