Industry News 10/30/2007

AST China Skateboarding Event Rolls into Beijing in April 2008

AST China Skateboarding Event Rolls into Beijing April 2008

The AST (Action Sports Tour) announced yesterday its first international expansion effort with the creation of an AST China event, a global skateboarding competition scheduled for Beijing in April 2008.  The AST is the recently launched, umbrella and global brand and organization of the AST Dew Tour.   The AST Dew Tour, now in its third year, has five, June-through-October, USA tour stops, featuring skateboarding, BMX and freestyle motocross competitions. Wade Martin, President and General Manager of the AST, and Zhou Qiang, President of Xingyi, made the announcement.

This first AST China event represents an alliance between the AST, owned by NBC Universal, and Beijing Xingyi New Media Investment Company, the corporate entity of the China New Media Zone in Beijing’s Daxing District. An official signing ceremony recently took place in Beijing where Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics represented AST and NBC Universal and Cao Hui, Chairman of Xingyi, represented Xingyi and the China New Media Zone. Leaders from Beijing City Government, The Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) and Daxing District also presented at the ceremony.

The first AST China event will feature Skateboarding Vert and Skateboarding Park competitions involving the world’s best skateboarders who will qualify for AST China based upon their 2007 AST Dew Tour performances and point standings.  In addition, Chinese and other Asian skateboarders will earn the right to compete against the international stars by qualifying from a Chinese qualifying tour that will be conducted by Xingyi and the China Extreme Sports Association.

“Action sports, particularly skateboarding, are growing around the globe at a phenomenal rate and this AST China competition represents an important first step for the AST and NBC in launching our first international competition within the world’s largest nation,” said Wade Martin, President and General Manager, AST.  “We are very pleased to announce our event and partnership with Xingyi.”  The AST will serve as the sanctioning body for this AST China event and will be charged with competition management and athlete coordination while ensuring that the competitions adhere to AST standards.

“Xingyi wanted to launch a youth-focused, action sports competition in China and are delighted we could create this event with the AST and NBC Sports, “said Zhou Qiang. “Our inaugural event next April will spotlight the world’s best skateboarders in an event that will be televised within China and around the globe and will showcase Beijing as our city prepares for next summer’s Beijing Olympic Games.”

International competitors for the first AST China event will be determined based upon the 2007 AST Dew Tour points standings for Tour skateboarders that concluded last week in Orlando at the PlayStation Pro event.

In its third year, the AST Dew Tour is the most watched and attended action sports property in the world.  Attendance for the 2007 AST Dew Tour totaled nearly 300,000 and an average of 39 million viewers tuned in via NBC and USA Network each year.  The top athletes in the world take part in this year’s Tour, all competing for the highly coveted Dew Cup, which was awarded in Orlando at season’s end to champions in each of the six disciplines.  The 2007 Dew Cup winners included Nate Adams, USA (Freestyle Motocross), Jamie Bestwick, United Kingdom (BMX Vert), Daniel Dhers, Venezuela (BMX Park), Ryan Nyquist (BMX Dirt), and Ryan Sheckler, USA (Skateboard Park), Shaun White USA (Skateboard Vert).

Starting in December 2008, the AST will also launch a three-stop Winter Dew Tour focusing upon freeskiing and snowboarding disciplines for both men and women.

The venue, sponsors and prize money structure along with media coverage and media distribution of the inaugural AST China competition will be announced at a later date.  More information can be found at www.astdewtour.com.