Street League Skateboarding President Brian Atlas On New Fox Partnership
Street League Skateboarding announced today that it has signed a three-year agreement with Fox Sports 1, allowing them to broadcast the SLS contest series live domestically on Fox Media’s platforms. SLS previously broadcasted their events live since 2011 on ESPN 2.
“I’m thrilled to bring Street League to FOX Sports,” said SLS founder Rob Dyrdek. “Not only am I a fan of what they are doing with other key properties on the FOX Sports 1 network, but to have a media partner that truly believes in skateboarding as a stand-alone sport poised for longterm growth means the world to our business and the ability to grow the Street League audience moving forward.”
On top of the excitement from SLS and Fox, partners and athletes are also looking forward to having the exposure the contest series will offer on Fox’s platform. “Fox has been a leader in sports broadcasting for as long as I can remember,” says pro skater and 2013 SLS Super Crown Champion Chris Cole. “To have skateboarding be there feels like ‘we’ve made it!'”
We caught up with Street League President Brian Atlas to hear more about the new deal, and why he feels that the skateboarding community needs to be represented on a platform like this to grow the sport.
Why did you feel that Fox Sports 1 would be the best fit as a broadcasting partner for this series?
Fox Sports has shown an amazing commitment to get behind properties with unique audiences and also showcase the best of the best of sports entertainment. Their UFC and Supercross programming on FS1 comes to mind in regards to premium content that isn’t your typical big league sports stuff although they are amazing at doing that as well. All in all, they are known for making their programming feel exciting and special. We are very thrilled to be a part of that.
Beyond anything though, Fox Sports believes in skateboarding as a stand-alone form of sports entertainment and our vision for that, which we believe is integral to our mission as a platform.
What Fox platforms will the live broadcast be available on? Will it also be broadcast live on StreetLeague.com?
Our arena stops will be broadcast live domestically on FS1. The prelims and finals will be webcasted live internationally on streetleague.com. Fox Sports will also handle our international distribution which is another area they excel at given their massive distribution globally.
Take a look back at the 2013 Street League Skateboarding series:
How do you expect this partnership to help grow Street League?
Beyond the intangibles of planning out our strategy with their senior executives at the network and having an aligned vision for Street League in the long-term, we have direct promotional support across the Fox Sports family of channels, including opportunities for the SLS pros to be supported on their network outside of our broadcasts with on-air promo and their sports news programming. This extra attention to telling the story of SLS on their channel is a great starting point.
“…We believe in elevating the best of skateboarding which includes not losing sight of our unique culture. This includes spotlighting our amazing course design, the unique personality of the riders, and making sure the best styles of street skateboarding are able to shine through in our format. Showing that authentic variety of our world is exactly what the broader audience should see and is what we are committed to.” —Brian Atlas, Street League Skateboarding President
What type of visibility and value does this partnership add for Street League’s partners? What has been their reaction to the news?
They were definitely pleased with the update. We are very lucky to have partners that understand the long-term mission of SLS and support what we are building for skateboarding. They agree that SLS functioning as a standalone property focused only on skateboarding is key to that mission, and as such, support this step with our new TV partner in a major way.
What expectations do you have of the new partnership going into the 2014 Street League series as far as viewership compared to past events?
Although it is too early tell, we are pleased to see that Supercross’s audience has been growing since the roll-out of FS1. We are adding the necessary resources with our marketing efforts internally to hopefully see similar growth for our programming.
Do you or Rob see any risk in the event series becoming “too mainstream”?
A major part of our vision is to excite the skateboarding community by evolving our content and making live programming that every single skateboarder wants to watch. As the content becomes undeniable I believe all of our fans, pros, and the broader skateboarding community will be rooting for the league’s on-going growth. This growth will serve both the SLS pros and the brands behind these pros better and ultimately allow SLS to produce even more exciting content for our fans. Beyond that, we believe in elevating the best of skateboarding which includes not losing sight of our unique culture. This includes spotlighting our amazing course design, the unique personality of the riders, and making sure the best styles of street skateboarding are able to shine through in our format. Showing that authentic variety of our world is exactly what the broader audience should see and is what we are committed to.