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Friday, January 29, 2010

Athletes as well as viewers may get the best of both worlds as the X-Games and Winter Olympics go back-to-back

There has been some debate weather the Winter Olympics was losing it’s luster as the Winter-X games gain in popularity, and the answer is your standard ambiguous legal response, “it depends”. The older, traditionalist don’t see the appeal of the X-Games, and will perfectly content with their figure skating (which got a little extreme a while back with Harding/Kerrigan) and ice hockey, while anyone with an 8 or a 9 in front of their birthday will probably opt for the excitement and unpredictability of the XG. Fortunately for both the participants and spectators the two were intentionally scheduled with enough time between them to allow the 53 athletes competing in both spectacles to recover and re-focus, as well as allot the fans a brief break in between to avoid ice burnout. It’s a dangerous situation for the Winter Olympics as they have so many more chips in the center of the table as the cost to host and cover ANY Olympics is simply staggering and they continue to battle the painful truth that will cost are going up, viewers are going down. The fact that it’s international appeal is still high is great for posturing but difficult to manage for advertising purposes. While the WXGs know their market, demographic, and so do their advertisers. One would have to think the networks realize that some finance MBA did the math and realized that AXE budget would be much more well spent saturating the WXG rather than getting 1 60-second spot per day on the Oly’s. I for one am curious the amount of younger viewers that tune in a month later and if the pomp & circumstance, structure, and tradition of the Olympic Games puts them to sleep or keeps them tuned in. The Olys have a real uphill battle to hold the young demographic because the events in the WXG are all about adrenaline and the action is almost non-stop regardless of the event, while the Winters will without a have a few challenging moments (hours) but the question for the Olympics will be if they have the stories to keep you intrigued like the Summer Games always do? It seems for every Apollo Ono there are 10 cross country skiing events where, although you can appreciate the athletic ability, just isn’t going to keep me entranced for more than 5 minutes. We won’t have our answer for another month but the as the opening act the WXG will really set the bar high, but perhaps that’s a good thing as it will force the Networks to find the most interesting events even if they don’t contain an American, and if worse comes to worse they can break out the crowbar again. Which event will you watch? Let us know here and in the World Sports room on site.

Winter X-Games Opening Day Schedule
Thursday, January 28, 2010

Time Event Location
10 am- 12 pm Skiing SuperPipe Men's & Women's Practice Aspen, CO
10 am- 12 am Skiing Slopestyle Men's Elimination Aspen, CO
11:30 am- 1 pm Snowmobile Freestyle Elimination Aspen, CO
12 am- 3:00 pm Skiing Skier X Men's & Women's Practice Aspen, CO
1 pm- 2:30 pm Skiing Slopestyle Women's Final Aspen, CO
2 pm- 3 pm Snowmobile Best Trick Practice Aspen, CO
2:45 pm- 4 pm Snowboard Slopestyle Men's & Women's Practice Aspen, CO
3 pm- 4 pm Mono Skier X Practice Aspen, CO
4:30 pm- 6 pm Snowboard SuperPipe Women's Elimination Aspen, CO
6 pm- 7 pm Snowboard SuperPipe Men's Practice Aspen, CO
6 pm- 7 pm Snowboard Big Air Practice Aspen, CO
7 pm- 9 pm Skiing Big Air Practice Aspen, CO
7 pm- 8:30 pm Snowboard SuperPipe Men's Elimination Aspen, CO
7 pm- 9 pm Snowmobile Freestyle Final Aspen, CO

US Hockey Team has a mountain to climb in the snow
With the Winter Olympics just over a month away we’ve had a chance to review the US Hockey team and it looks like we’ll be needing another miracle just to make it to the medal round. Ironically, on paper this is one of the strongest teams we’ve sent to the Olympics in quite some time, but the talent from the other countries by definition is well, world class. Russia, Sweden, and Canada are stacked top-to-bottom and those are just behemoths we can see coming, there are plenty of good teams that have been flying under the radar that may surprise us as well as the world audience. If you can get over the ethnocentrism, it does set up to be the most exciting world hockey tournament since the afore mentioned “Miracle” in 1980, and true hockey fans will relish it as well as pardon the games for interrupting the NHL season just after the mid-way point. Who do you think will take down gold in 2010? Let us know here and in the World Sports page on the site.

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