YouTube starts action sport channels with Tony Hawk, Kelly Slater
Dominant online video site YouTube has launched a new lineup of sports channels featuring some of the biggest names in action sports — including pro skateboarder Tony Hawk, snowboarder Shaun White and surfer Kelly Slater.
The four channels seek to tap into the rising popularity of action sports — especially among teens and twentysomethings — by offering clips, commentary and live events on YouTube. The original content represents another step in the site's efforts to augment its user-created videos with more professionally programmed offerings.
YouTube's sports outlets will include the Red Bull Channel, which will feature a new 13-episode series chronicling the daily lives of some of the world's best-known action sports athletes, including urban mountain biker Danny MacAskill, skateboarding pro Ryan Sheckler and big wave surfer Jamie O'Brien.
Another channel, Network A, will offer highlights and interviews with well-known athletes such as skateboarding pros Sheckler and Paul Rodriguez, White and Slater.
Alli Sports will feature tips from favorite athletes discussing how they pull off their signature moves. It will also seek to identify rising stars and offer news and highlights.
Hawk will lend his backing to Ride, a 24-hour channel devoted to the skateboarding lifestyle. One show, "Tony Hawk's Dissent," will offer subscribers behind-the-scenes access to celebrities. "One in a Million" will give amateurs the chance to compete for sponsorship.
"Bringing these new channels from some of the world's leading producers will be a welcome addition to our already broad base of action sports fans on YouTube," said Claude Ruibal, global head of sports for YouTube.
— Dawn C. Chmielewski
X Games legend Shaun White wows the crowd during warm-ups for Skateboard Vert Elimination during the X Games last July. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times.