As many of you that follow the X-Games on ESPN know, Aggressive Inline Skating was dropped from the US competitions starting in 2005. Their reasoning behind this was that the sport wasn't "growing at the rate of our other sports." Now it is 2012, and after the sport has started to show signs of significant growth, one has to wonder if it isn't time for ESPN to consider reinstating AIS to the X-Games.
In looking at how the sport has grown, let's consider the World Rollin Series. The circuit started in 2009 with just a mere 10 events in major countries around the world. In just a mere three years, there are now over 100 events for both amateurs and pros around the world. This includes the United States.
Another interesting point to consider is how ESPN broadcasting poker games continues on the network despite the game showing signs of shrinkage. Also, the ratings have been sliding for years now and the game is in the middle of economic shrinkage. In the past, such signs would point to a sport being removed or great reduced in coverage.
Yes, it is true that poker and Aggressive Inline Skating are two totally different things. However, with the growth of the WRS alone, officials at ESPN should consider investigating whether or not AIS is worth reviving.
The Asia X-Games and other international competitions regularly host AIS competitions. Check out Takeshi Yasutoko's winning run at the 2006 LG Action Sports World Championships.
Might we add that this competition was held in the United States, which is another example of how the sport has grown in recent years. The great thing about AIS is that it isn't a sport with a casual following such as soccer. Fans of the sport will follow it and the ratings were relatively strong in the past.
Another potential home for AIS X-Game coverage would be ESPN-2. There are plenty of people that would tune in to watch AIS over other sports. Professional poker proved very profitable for ESPN 2 in regards for ratings, and AIS could also prove strong if given a chance.
If we happen to be mistaken and the ratings support the findings of ESPN officials in 2005, then it could be chalked up as a bold experiment and maybe one that could be tried again in the future. However, if we are right and fans of AIS support the sport on TV like they have with the WRS, ESPN may find themselves very happy with a decision to resurrect Aggressive Inline Skating to the X-Games.