The highest levels of competitive skateboarding entered a new era today with the announcement that Rob Dyrdek's Street League Skateboarding will partner with the X Games Men's Skateboard Street competition this year, as the action sports event expands globally.
With the partnership, Street League's annual contest series will now include stops at this year's X Games events in Brazil, Spain, Germany and Los Angeles. With those newly branded "Street League at X Games" additions, the 2013 Street League World Tour, as it's called, will feature six stops, plus a season-ending championship event.
"There is no better opportunity to elevate Street League globally than our new partnership with the X Games," Dyrdek said in a statement. "By launching a fully connected world tour, our pros now have six events to qualify into the championship, with each tour stop utilizing the standard Street League format, course design, and prize money that has helped establish the series as the most elite tour in skateboarding. This partnership not only gives more to our fans but also adds undeniable media support from ESPN to give the league a true global impact."
The agreement essentially replaces X Games Men's Skateboard Street contests with Street League events, ensuring that the league's 20 contracted pros are automatically invited to compete at the four new stops. But fans can also anticipate a showing of non-Street League skaters.
Dubbed the Street League Skateboarding (SLS) Select Series, the league's first-ever qualifier will pit 10 cherry-picked pro skaters and five local skaters from each X Games host city on the contest course for a chance to ride in the Street League at X Games medal event.
"We are working to establish a qualifying structure into the Select Series utilizing other established competitions outside of Street League," said Street League general manager Brian Atlas. "For the first year, though, we are taking all factors into consideration, including performance in prior contests as well as traditional video and magazine coverage."
The list of confirmed Select Series riders who will compete at the first stop, in Brazil, will be announced soon, Atlas said.
"The X Games and Street League collaboration will allow ESPN to provide continuity throughout the skate competition season and showcase the world's best street skaters to all of the X Games events globally," Tim Reed, ESPN's senior director of content strategy, said in the statement. "In addition, ESPN is thrilled to be the exclusive live platform for the Street League world tour and looking forward to documenting all of the stories and highlights year round on xgames.com."
The partnership also includes a broadcast deal with ESPN and ESPN2, which has been televising the Street League series since its inception in 2010.
The 2013 Street League World Tour will utilize the viewer-friendly ISX instant-scoring system (co-owned by Dyrdek) and concrete skate plazas built by Joe Ciaglia's California Skateparks.
The dates and venues for the 2013 SLS World Tour are:
Stop One: Street League at X Games – Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil (April 18 - 21)
Stop Two: Street League at X Games – Barcelona, Spain (May 16 - 19)
Stop Three: Sprint Center – Kansas City, Mo. (June 9)
Stop Four: Street league at X Games – Munich, Germany (June 27 - 30)
Stop Five: Rose Garden – Portland, Ore. (July 14)
Stop Six: Street League at X Games – Los Angeles (August 1 - 4)
Championship: Prudential Center – Newark, NJ (August 25)