ESPN is canceling the international edition of the X-Games, Reuters reports. ESPN announced the expansion in May 2012 but apparently hasn't found a way to make any money off the games this year. This also means more job cuts are coming to Bristol.
There have been signs of trouble. Six months ago, we received a memo from an ESPN producer complaining about the financial hardships for an upcoming X-Games in Brazil. That producer wrote:
Finally, I'm going to be completely honest with you: this global X Games series is far from a sure thing long-term. Financially, things are extremely difficult. I have personally banged my head against the budget wall for countless hours, especially on this event. Every negotiation has been exhausting, trying to wring every spare reais out of it.
The operation was so hard up for money that the producer asked staffers to 1.) not ask for overtime and 2.) use the per diem that ESPN provided to buy water, aspirin, sunscreen, lip balm, and snacks. The network wouldn't provide them, the producer wrote, even though "domestic remotes often provide these things." The leaked memo didn't go over too well. An ESPN executive said in March that the network was having a hard time selling "local sponsorships in markets that have less familiarity with our brand and event." The X-Games international portion had competitions in Barcelona, Tignes, Foz do Iguacu, and Munich.
As a result, even more positions will be eliminated. ESPN won't disclose how many. The domestic X-Games will continue (though they've had problems of their own this year). Know more about the X-Games and the bad news regarding job cuts? Email me.