The state of action sports online is strong. On YouTube, Red Bull and GoPro consistently rank among the top five sports channels for subscribers. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki recently told The New York Times that the broad category of action sports ranks second only to soccer in popularity. Unlike other sports channels, whose online video is typically produced by large media houses, the majority of action sports video is shot by athletes and an increasing percentage of it is produced by brands.
“More and more brands today are moving away from traditional sponsorship, moving much more toward being a creator and collaborator,” said Issa Sawabini, a partner at Fuse Marketing, which advises brands like Mountain Dew, New Balance, and Gatorade on youth marketing. “In some cases they can handle that in house, and in some cases they’re moving toward having a much more vocal seat at the table with a production partner.”