ESPN Sells Majority Stake in X Games to MSP Sports Capital

Network will maintain broadcast rights as private-equity firm takes controlling interest

ESPN sold its majority stake in the X Games this week, marking the end of a nearly three-decade run with the network. MSP Sports Capital has taken over.

“MSP Sports Capital is excited about the future of X Games and being the new stewards of such an important part of sports history and its reimagined future,” Jeff Moorad, Founder and CEO of MSP Sports Capital said in a statement.

With their ownership, MSP is set to focus on “infusing new energy to the brand, prioritizing premiere athlete and fan experiences, and investing in technologies to launch the brand into the future.” Steven Flisler takes over as CEO of X Games, coming off his role as the Vice President of Original Content at Twitch and Executive Producer of Twitch Rivals. Flisler also previously held various leadership positions across NBCUniversal, producing several live productions and special events.

While the exact terms of the deal were not specified, ESPN will maintain the broadcast rights to the X Games, and is set to air X Games Aspen 2023 live from Aspen, Colorado, from January 27-29.

“We’re proud of what we’ve created with our employees and the athletes over nearly 30 years of world-class X Games events and content,” Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman of ESPN and Sports Content said in a statement. “We now look forward to an exciting next chapter with MSP Sports Capital, which has a proven track record of excellence in sports and a dynamic vision for the continued growth and progression of the industry-leading action sports brand.”

The games were founded by ESPN back in 1995, and became a staple of the sports world over the years, highlighting unique events like skiing, snowboarding, Moto X, BMX freestyle, and skateboarding. Thanks to the X Games and Winter X Games, athletes like Tony Hawk and Shaun White became household names. In fact, Hawk is joining the X Games investor group “as a brand steward to help bridge the X Games legacy to the future.”

“Skateboarding is part of my DNA and I support a community where change and advances in action sports is happening on a daily basis,” Hawk said. “Being part of the advisory board for X Games is an extension of my decades of competing and much more forgiving to the body, and I look forward to being constantly inspired by so many incredible athletes.”