MTV and NBC announce action sports partnership on AST

MTV Networks Music Group, a division of Viacom’s MTV Networks and NBC Sports, a division of NBC Universal, Inc. today announced a wide ranging, strategic partnership to expand  the AST (Action Sports Tour), a global, youth-focused, multimedia, action sports business that includes the AST Dew Tour, the AST Winter Dew Tour and the amateur Free Flow Tour into a global brand that spans MTV and NBC’s multiple screens. Van Toffler, President, MTV Networks Music and Logo Group and Dick Ebersol, Chairman of NBC Universal Sports & Olympics made the announcement. Action Sports Tour, LLC, the company that will operate the business, will be co-owned by MTV Networks and NBC Sports.

As part of the MTV Networks/NBC Universal alliance around the AST, MTV and MTV2 will provide lifestyle programming, targeted cross-promotion, multi-platform content and distribution, consumer products licensing and merchandising to the joint venture. NBC Sports will continue to produce extensive competition coverage of the AST tours and provide live network broadcasts and on-air promotion around AST competitions.

The addition of MTV and MTV2 programming for the AST nearly doubles what was already action sports’ largest annual television schedule. MTV and MTV2 will produce programming showcasing the AST competition as well as the lifestyle of some of action sports biggest names and those up and coming on the circuit. In addition, the music brands will highlight the musical aspects of the tour, with MTV2 spotlighting emerging local artists as part of the tour’s overall activities.   In addition, MTV will build upon the AST’s significant digital reach on, adding more tools, enhanced community, functionality and video content for users to interact with and find out more about the latest news from the tour 24/7 and throughout the year.

“MTV pioneered the marriage of music, sports and lifestyle back in the early 1990’s” said Van Toffler, President of MTV Networks Music and Logo Group. “Today, by joining forces with NBC Sports on the AST, we’ll be giving our audience the chance to experience a next generation sports tour that covers it all.”

Ebersol said:  “When we created the Action Sports Tour, we always hoped that one day MTV would be a strategic partner. The Tour will see immediate benefits from this alliance and is now uniquely positioned for long-term growth.”

In 2005, NBC Sports created and launched the Dew Tour, the first, season-long, nationally televised, competitive tour for the growing action sports of skateboarding, BMX and freestyle motocross with five events.  The AST umbrella brand for the various Tours and businesses was introduced in 2007 and in April 2008, the AST’s first international event, the AST China Invitational, was contested in Beijing.  Starting in December 2008, the three-stop Winter Dew Tour (snowboarding and free style skiing disciplines) for men and women will launch.  The AST’s Free Flow Tour started in 2005 and creates local skate park competition opportunities for top amateur skaters and BMX riders to compete against the AST’s pro athletes.

“This is a terrific partnership that blends truly complementary reach and expertise.  NBC Sports has demonstrated extraordinary vision from day one with the AST and coupled with the MTV and MTV2’s assets, the partnership will bolster the AST, and action sports as a whole, on so many levels,” said Wade Martin, AST President and General Manager.

Martin will continue in his current role and will oversee tour sales, marketing, business development and operations for the MTVN/NBCU joint venture reporting to its board of directors.

For 44 consecutive quarters, MTV has been the #1 rated cable network for the coveted 12-24 year old audience. MTV has a history in programming sports music and lifestyle, with such series and specials as “MTV’s Sports,” “MTV’s Rock N’ Jock” and the “MTV Sports and Music Fesitval,” among others.  Its sister channel, MTV2 has the highest concentration of young males across all of cable. In addition, MTV Games and Harmonix launched “Rock Band,” in 2007 the wildly successful music-based video game.

The 2007 AST Dew Tour was the most watched action sports property globally, including an estimated 41 million domestic viewers consuming the combined 33 hours of AST programming on NBC Sports and the USA Network. The summer Dew Tour also has domestic distribution partnerships with NBCU’s Universal HD, Fox’s Fuel, Rush HD and, the Internet video sharing network. In addition, the summer Dew Tour is distributed in over 100 countries and available in 23 different languages on six continents in 280 million homes worldwide on Eurosport, Eurosport2, Fox Sports International, Extreme Channel, China’s CCTV and Fox/Fuel Australia, as well as on a variety of new media platforms including Broadband, Cable MSO Video-on-Demand. Sony’s PSP and Verizon Wireless. In 2007, NBC began live, international broadcasting of AST events through multi-year agreements with Eurosport2 and Fox/Fuel Australia.

The 2008 AST Dew Tour kicks off its fourth season in Baltimore June 19-22 with the Panasonic Open.  The Tour resumes July 17-20 with the Right Guard Open from Cleveland.  On August 21-24, Portland hosts the Wendy’s Invitational.  The Toyota Challenge will take place in Salt Lake City on September 11-14 and the Tour concludes with the PlayStation Pro October 16-19 from Orlando.  The first Winter Dew Tour begins December 18.

Love of baseball seeds dreams

Keenan Longcor would always feel a little nostalgic twinge when he drove past a baseball field. It would remind him of the great times he’d spent with his son, Ben, bonding over their shared love of baseball.

A good many of us understand. Baseball is one of those generational things – a shared passion that fathers and sons and mothers and daughters and grandfathers and grandchildren can relate to. A day at the ballpark can be a wonderful pastime that turns into a great memory.

Longcor, a fourth-generation Oregonian, did well with his businesses over the years. He always wanted to leave a portion of his estate to something that would help area baseball and baseball players.

— Excerpt from The Oregonian, May 22, 2008

Success of cycling race has backers dreaming

The sixth annual Mt. Hood Cycling Classic accomplished a trio of firsts.

For the first time, the six-day, six-stage race offered women riders a chance to bolster their Olympic hopes. It reached beyond the Hood River and Mount Hood areas by showcasing the first two stages in Portland. And this summer, highlights of the race edited into a one-hour show will air on television for the first time.

All told, race organizers said the event, which concluded Sunday with a criterium in downtown Hood River, generated an estimated $1 million in revenue for the local economy, up from $600,000 last year, and attracted about 15,000 spectators.

— Excerpt from The Oregonian, May 20, 2008

Gorge Games secures national TV contract with Fox Sports

National attention will turn to the scenic Columbia River Gorge as owners of the 2008 Gorge Games announced today they have secured a contract with Fox Sports to broadcast the event nationally this summer.

“We are delighted to bring the Gorge Games back to national television,” stated Joshua Ryan, CEO and co-founder of Gorge Games, LLC.  This year the event that will feature 10 actions sports: adventure racing, kayaking, kiteboarding, mountain biking, outrigger canoeing, riverboarding, running events (trail run and half marathon), sailing, skateboarding, and windsurfing.  There are more than 40 different competitive categories among the 10 sports including mens, womens, juniors and master classifications.

“Through our partnership with Fox Sports and Careco Productions, an authorized Fox Sports production company, Gorge Games will be presenting 3.5 hours of ‘Gorge Games Week’ programming,” according to Alan Peters, co-founder of the 2008 Gorge Games.  “We expect to reach more than 84 million households and a viewing audience of more than 5 million,” Peters added.

“The Gorge Games is one of the few Oregon-based events that is broadcast nationally,” stated Ryan. In addition to the adrenaline-fueled action, this unique Pacific Northwest event will feature segments on sponsors, developments in equipment and gear, sustainability, local Columbia Gorge attractions and the Pacific Northwest music scene.

“The Gorge Games entertainment includes Storm Large, Pepe & the Bottle Blondes, March 4th Marching Band, The Ultronz, Dirty Martini and others,” Ryan added.  These bands have been asked to contribute their music to be used in the show’s soundtrack and will be featured in the nationally-aired program.  “This is an exciting way to showcase the best of the Pacific Northwest music scene,” stated Ryan, “and give these bands a chance to be heard before a national television audience.”

Fox Sports will air 30-minute episodes during Gorge Games Week beginning Monday, August 18, 2008 through Friday, August 22, 2008  Finals coverage will be aired prime-time on the weekend of August 23-24, 2008.

Additional coverage will be provided via and Full length episodes will be available until the airing of the first annual Winter Gorge Games.

When tourists come calling

Oregon communities, from Portland to Coos Bay, are preparing to lay out the welcome mat for the thousands of visitors making their way to Eugene next month for the U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials.

Eugene is the epicenter of the 10-day event, from June 27 to July 6, but other communities are hoping for an economic boost.

“I think the impact embraces really the entire state,” starting with Portland, where many of the visitors will fly in, said Drew Mahalic, CEO of Oregon Sports Authority, a nonprofit sports economic development group based in Portland.

— Excerpt from The Register-Guard, May 16, 2008

LIVESTRONG Day is May 13: half-price Challenge registration

Today is the day. May 13 is LIVESTRONG Day and in honor of the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s one-day initiative to raise awareness and funds for the cancer fight, the Lance Armstrong Foundation is offering ½ price registration for the 2008 LIVESTRONG Challenge.

The LAF is gearing-up to register 2,000 new Challenge participants today, 500 more people than registered last year. They’re also attempting to raise $72,000 on this single day, a 50% increase on the funds raised on LIVESTRONG Day 2007.

And if ½ price registration weren’t enough, there are got some great incentives for you. The team who registers the most team members on May 13 will receive ten, 2007 LIVESTRONG Challenge jerseys. The individual who raises the most funds in their online account on May 13 will receive a Trek bike.

Challenge participants are a crucial part of the Lance Armstrong Foundation’s fight against cancer. They’d love to have you participate this year, so register today and enter code: LSDAY08 into the discount code box on the registration form.

MLL comes to Portland

Portland’s taste for lacrosse continues to grow on a daily basis and the Portland LumberJax are here to feed the need. On Saturday, August 9, the organization will host a Major League Lacrosse (MLL) game between the two-time defending champion Philadelphia Barrage and the New Jersey Pride at 7:30 p.m. at Hillsboro Stadium.

The game is only the icing on what will be an action packed lacrosse week. Before the game, a week of lacrosse clinics and tournaments on the youth and high school levels begin on Tuesday, August 5 and end before the Barrage and Pride close out their regular seasons.

The clinics kick the week off on Tuesday, August 5 and go through Thursday, August 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Players and coaches from both MLL clubs will conduct these full day clinics. The cost is $60 per day or $150 for all three days. Visit for registration information and details on ticket discounts for participants.

Friday, August 8 is when the best of the youth and high school ranks engage. From 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at both Hillsboro Stadium and the new 53rd St. Complex, the top players in the Pacific Northwest will play for state supremacy.

Gates open at 12:30 p.m. on Championship Saturday, August 9, leaving ample time to get situated before the youth championships start at 1:30 p.m. Upon conclusion of the youth championships, the high school finals will begin at 3:30 p.m.

Barrage attackman Ryan Boyle, third in the MLL with 58 points in 2007 and Pride defenseman Ryan McClay, who finished sixth in the league with 70 ground balls collected, will be two of the many players from the Barrage and Pride who will hold an on field youth clinic at 5:30 p.m.

The Barrage and Pride begin formal warm-ups at 6:30 p.m. before their 7:30 p.m. face-off. Philadelphia won both meetings last season by three goals in each game, so revenge will be on New Jersey’s minds.

Tickets start as low as $15 and are on sale now. Visit or call Portland Lacrosse LLC at (503) 797-9739 for more details.