ESPN has teamed up with the Mills Corporation to open ESPN X Games Skateparks in Mills malls (see Shoppertainment article elsewhere in this eNewsletter for more on Mills). To date, Van's has been the leader in the action sports market with 140 stores specializing in apparel and shoes specifically designed for skateboarders and bikers and eight commercial Van's Skateparks, each with about 50,000 square feet of indoor space and about 10,000 SF outdoors.
The ESPN Skateparks hope to capitalize on the network's Summer X Games series of competitions. ESPN has been very successful in using its sports programming for branding with the ESPN Zone, a chain of sports-themed restaurant and entertainment facilities operated by Disney.
Four X Games Skateparks have already opened and more are on the way. They average about 40,000 square feet each and feature a 18,000 SF street course, three vertical ramps, a spine, a bowl and a beginner street course as well as a large screen television for parties, a skaters and riders lounge, an observation deck and a large retail outlet featuring a extensive collection of action sports merchandise. There are separately scheduled sessions exclusively for BMX bikers. The parks will offer ESPN a place to stage events and offer interactive events for its annual X Games telecasts.
Skateboarders and in-liners skaters share the facilities during session hours. Memberships range from $50 to $100 and admission prices range from $7 to $9 per hour.