Sponsor Insights

Sponsors Offer Frosty Festivities at Winter X Games

The 2023 Winter X Games, held last weekend in Aspen, provided unique opportunities for brands–including Monster Energy, Pacifico, Jeep, and many others–to activate on Buttermilk Mountain. Following is our roundup of highlights from this year’s games–both brands and athletes–as reported by our team on the ground taking in all the action. 

Brand Activations:

Pacifico operated two separate Beer Gardens, where fans aged 21 and older could grab an ice-cold beverage. 

The two-story Monster Energy bar/lounge featured music and “Monster” girls doling out its popular drinks to thirsty fans.

Jeep loomed large at the Games, with products displayed all over the mountain. The Jeep Theater offered an indoor/outdoor space where attendees could kick back and watch the events taking place on the big screen, with two Jeep vehicles parked right outside for visitors to peruse.

Athlete Endorsements:

Chinese-American freestyle skier, Eileen Gu, has 15 endorsement deals, having collaborated with high-profile brands like Tiffany & Co, Louis Vuitton, Red Bull, IWC, and more. A whopping 546% increase in followers over the last year to some 2M followers across all social media makes her the 21st most followed Extreme & Action Sports athlete worldwide, with a total engagement of 3.5M.

The eighth most followed person in Austria, snowboarder Anna Gasser boasts a combined social following of 661K and total engagement of 1.1M. Her 8 brand partnerships include Red Bull, Skullcandy, Audi, and Burton. 

David Wise–who won gold in the Monster Energy Men’s Ski SuperPipe–is sponsored by 15 brands, including Visa, Toyota, P&G, and Monster. The American freestyle skier has 84K followers and a total engagement of 30K across all social platforms.

Aussie snowboarder Scotty James won his 5th X Games snowboard halfpipe, and counts Oakley, Red Bull, Samsung, and Tommy Hilfiger among his 10 sponsors. His 24% YoY follower growth brought his social following to 324K, with a total engagement of 427K.

Summer X Games

As the X Games Summer ’22–which kicked off Wednesday in San Diego–streams live on ESPN+, it’s a prime time for a closer look at the dynamic sponsorship market for extreme sports.

Nearly 450 brands are actively investing in the extreme and action sport athlete space, where athletes/influencers average 5 sponsorship deals each, and 47% have 5 or more. A whopping 89% of these deals leverage social media as a key component: Instagram image and video posts rank first and third, respectively, as utilized assets. 

Sportswear manufacturer Oakley, a favorite of competitive snowboarders and skiers, tops the list of brands continuing to grow in this market, followed by Vans, which sponsors skateboarder Tom Schaar and BMX biker Kevin Peraza. Toyota, LEKI, and Smith Optics round out the top 5 spots. 

Not surprisingly, Apparel & Accessories, Non-Alcoholic Beverages, and Leisure & Recreation comprise the top 3 industry categories, each with three times as many deals as Retail, fourth on the list. Energy drinks like Monster Energy and Red Bull dominate the beverage category, with more than 90% of total endorsements.