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.