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ESPN Out of Touch with Action Sports

quiksilver x logoThe much publicized decision made by ESPN to file a lawsuit against Quiksilver over the letter ‘X‘ (silly, isn’t it?) is a decision that will continue to find ESPN and the X-Games painted into a corner all by themselves when it comes to the action sports industry.

In short, the lawsuit basically states that Quiksilver uses a stylized “X” emblem on clothing, labels and accessories that is “confusingly similar” to ESPN’s logo for the series of surfing and biking contests.

Aside from the fact that the basis of this lawsuit appears to be petty and childish, picking a fight with one of the biggest brands in all of action sports isn’t going to do anything beneficial for the continually sagging ratings of the X-Games. For most of us, Quiksilver is a brand that is near and dear to our hearts and one that we would side with over ESPN in a heartbeat.

It has been a gradual decline for the X-Games, but ESPN seems intent on speeding up the process of seeing the games go by the wayside altogether. We just witnessed how well the ‘let’s drop Vert, the event that put us on the map and gave us our signature moment’ decision went over with the masses. Hint: the decision was quickly reversed. They are even going as far as to infuse Hollywood actors into the games and having them judge sports that they know absolutely nothing about.

The thought process being used by the decision-makers at ESPN and X-Games over the last few years is highly questionable. With the direction they’ve taken it’s hard to know what their intentions for the future are. Surely these aren’t the types of decisions made by people who are at all in touch with what makes their fan-base tick.


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Posted by Shaun on Friday, May 9th, 2008 in Brands, Industry.

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10 Responses to “ESPN Out of Touch with Action Sports”

  • Storkelson Says:

    The x-games are lame and this is just another example of big media messing around with something they know nothing about and screweing it up. I wonder how many days it will be until they change their minds on this issue too. Sounds like they are starved for attention so they keep doing stupid things for exposure – any press is good press. I’m also pretty sure that Quicksilver has been using this x since before the x-games, so maybe they will turn this lawsuit around.

  • jose Says:

    5ones once again displays limited originality. Can we just say sacklunch did this type of reporting with 5x the wit and accuracy? Dropping vert and suing Quik =’s out of touch with action sports.

    How about some more concrete evidence…surely you guys can do better than this.

  • Shaun Says:

    Thank you for the thoughts Jose…. I’m always stoked to hear what our readers think!
    Just curious my friend. if you think we’re that bad, why do you keep reading? “5ones once again…”

  • Cameron Says:

    Jose, let me also thank you for your thoughts. I actually really appreciate comments such as yours. For one, it lets us know we’re doing our job, it wouldn’t be much fun if everyone agreed with everything we say or how we say it. Two, it’s great constructive feedback.

    We’re different than what sacklunch was though. We’re not in this to be a tabloid service, not that that’s what they were but you know what I’m saying. We’re also different from traditional media… I’d say we’re more of a opinion/thought source than anything and we try to refrain from completely bashing people/companies. We like to keep our content short and get to the point with our thoughts… if that means lack of concrete evidence, well, I’m sorry. I still think we got the point across though in this post.

    These latest antics from ESPN, in addition to the ones we wrote about when they dropped/reinstated vert, proves they’re losing reality with what the games (or action sports for that matter) are all about.

  • Mike Wexler Says:

    The problem with this, guys, is that this post is based on opinion, not fact. That X logo Quicksilver is using is basically the exact same design as the X-Games logo. And if you don’t think branding is important in any industry, then you have not worked in a real industry very long. ESPN is simply protecting their brand, which they have every right to do. It’s far from “silly”.

    Secondly, you cite sagging ratings for the X-Games. While Moto-X did not rate out of the box, the Summer and Winter X-Games continually rate well and really dominate the industry. http://www.lat34.com/x_games_13_makes_history.

    It’s not a problem to post a blog, but to state it as if it’s fact, when those facts are not substantiated or accurate, is not responsible on your part.

  • Storkelson Says:

    I was under the impression that Quiksilver has been using that X long before the x-games where around. Plus, it seems ridiculous for them to sue a company that has done such a good job supporting the games over the years. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

  • Mike Wexler Says:

    Storkelson – That’s not correct. ESPN is suing Quicksilver because the design is new, and too similar to ESPN’s well established X brand. And, while Quicksilver has been around longer, its almost impossible to argue that without the X-Games, action sports is nowhere near as mainstream as it is now. So who’s biting who?

  • Chris Says:


    Regardless of fact behind ratings etc. and I do understand branding and I will say the X is very similar and less knowledgeable consumer may get the two mixed up.

    I would say the core of the post including the title is ESPN is out of touch with action sports. I am always stoked to watch summer and winter x games, but this year in Snowboard when the cast from Jumper was getting in on the judging and hanging out with commentators it seemed nothing short of ESPN taking dough to promote a movie. It was so lame. I changed the channel and watched the Tivo non Rachel Bilson version later.

  • taylor Says:

    ESPN is not out of touch with action sports, at least in the skiing area. John Symms (and if you dont are into skiing and dont know who he is than you are a poser) is the blogger for the ski section of EXPN and does a excellent job keeping everyone up to date in the ski industry. In fact i have notice that alot of the ski posts on 5 ones are very similar to the posts on Johns blog and yours are always posted after his. So before you start posting stories about how out of touch espn is with action sports i would consider where you get your information about for your posts.

  • taylor Says:

    oh yeah and it most likely is not a good thing when your editor in chief admits to lack of concrete evidence.

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