Extreme sports has long been used to activate one of the primary ways that content gets shared: by shock and awe. Unfortunately, a combination of the heights with which extreme sports athletes have raised the bar to performance combined with readily recorded and shared content from extreme athletes the world over, both professional and amateur, has raised the bar of expectation. In doing so, not only is there more dangerous demands on the athletes, but the ability for the extreme sports content to spread, regardless of how crazy it is, will only become more difficult because viewers are increasingly desensitized to the “gnarliness”.
Many Brands have built their business on extreme sports. We need only look at Red Bull and Mtn Dew, not to mention all the energy drinks, such as Burn. Riders want to be part of these teams so they are ready to take risks to impress. The result is obviously injury. Content hounds simply see the end product and don’t realize that many broken bones and near-death experiences have taken place for that 2 minute video to see the light of day. Isn’t that a bit twisted? Would we know more about the pain, we may appreciate to accomplishments a bit more, but we certainly wouldn’t accept lesser performance. In other words, we are pushing danger in the name of entertainment.
We need only look at two recent examples from Red Bull and GoPro to see how extremes sports athletes (powered or pushed by their Brands) are pushing the borders of risk. In one of the videos, the bike rider Danny MacAskill explains how fear has increasingly been part of his life. I wonder what other possibilities are out there where it isn’t simply risk that will enhance the appeal of the content, but also how the tricks are shown, where the tricks take place, and so on. Have a look and give me your thoughts.