ESPN Signs Multi-year Deal with Street League
July 06, 2010
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Photo: By Christopher Polk, Getty Images
Pro skatboarder Rob Dyrdek will introduce his new
Street League skateboarding circuit in September on
Pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek made it big in 2006 when 70 million people watched the first season of his MTV reality show Rob and Big. He has since produced a follow-up, Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory, and become an advocate of urban skate parks through his "Safe Spot Skate Spot" program.
And ESPN last week inked a multiyear partnership to televise Dyrdek's new skateboarding contest circuit, Street League, set to debut in September.
Street League is a three-stop, street-style skateboarding competition series combining top athletes, $1.2 million in prize money and a real-time scoring format, the lack of which, Dyrdek says, has limited skateboarding's mainstream appeal.
"Why are traditional sports so strong" Dyrdek asked in an ESPN.com interview. "You know the stakes on every play. That doesn't exist in action sports. You watch a bunch of tricks, and someone tells you the value of that after it's over. It's hard to be engaged by that."
Street League will also have a midweek, prime-time broadcast. "Competitive street skateboarding will finally move from afternoon programming on the weekends to consecutive prime-time slots, so the audience finally has a chance to tune in and watch the same time every week," Dyrdek said.
For ESPN, owner of the X Games, the fit is natural. "What Dyrdek has done is right in line with the quality sports programming that is the cornerstone of ESPN," said Chris Stiepock, ESPN X Games vice president for content and sponsorship.
Street League will air the first stop of the tour Sept. 15 at 11 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and will continue its coverage the next two Wednesday nights in the same time slot.