Variety's Reality Impact Report

Street League Skateboarding is gaining speed thanks to its TV deal.

The four-year-old org is trying to bring respectability to the sport on a global scale, and Fox Sports 1 helped pave the path with coverage Sunday of SLS’s Nike SB World Tour at University of Southern California’s Galen Center.

The new sports net is in the first year of a multi-year pact with SLS, which can be seen on multiple platforms. The goal is to provide new promotional opportunities to bring new fans into the world of skateboarding.

“They forced us to step our game up,” said SLS president Brian Atlas of Fox Sports 1. “It elevates what we do on the level of treating it like it matters, and that’s what we’re looking for.”

“It’s exciting,” said Michael Bloom, senior vice president of Fox Sports 1’s original programming.  “It’s visually stunning.  It looks different than anything else on our air and we’re excited to grow Fox Sports 1 alongside of the Street League for the next couple years.”

Bloom was part of the net’s initial conversation with League founder Rob Dyrdek (pictured above), a pro skateboarder turned host and producer of multiple MTV series, on how to best bring the sport to new eyes after the League’s previous run as an independent time-buy on ESPN ended.

“The deal is really very different from any other media distribution deal that we’ve had,” remarked Atlas, “because they’re really invested for the long-term vision of growing the sport on a network.”

Along with Shane O’Neill and other pro skateboarders, Dyrdek has been featured as a commentator on “Fox Sports Live” where he can delve deeper into the sport, explaining the tricks and difficulties that the pros strive to master.  It gives the sport a more personal feel, noted members of the SLS, and makes them more accessible as athletes in a sport that inspires a young generation.

“What they really understood is that this audience is a new audience for Fox Sports 1, and not only do we feel great about what they’re doing as a sports media network, but we feel great about how they’re approaching Street League,” said Atlas, excited for Street League’s future.

Fox Sports 1 also recently accompanied Street League for the opening of the Diamond Supply Co. Public Skate Plaza at Hazard Park.  With the help of California Skate Parks, the League re-purposes event structures into safe spaces for city kids in need, and is looking forward to holding more open skates and fan outreach events with the help of its retail partners and Fox Sports 1.

“It’s all about having a good partner that understands and is able to showcase what we really do,” added Mikey Taylor, one of the pros who competed in the tour stop.   “Fox has really got behind it, so it’s cool for all of us.”

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