The X Games has some extreme news to share ahead of the kickoff to the winter event this week in Aspen: host Selema Masekela has been named the brand’s first “chief of sports culture.”
The three-year deal, signed under new X Games owner MSP Sports Capital, will see Masekela return as a member of the X Games on-air team, while also adding creative advisor, producer and mentor duties to his purview.
More from Variety
As X Games chief of sports culture, Masekela will “help guide the cultural vision for the sport and lifestyle elements of the X Games brand, mentor up-and-coming talent, provide counsel on topics of athlete growth through production” and serve as the public face of the X Games brand.
Masekela began his career as an intern at TransWorld. His first position with the X Games was as a snowboard sideline reporter in 1999. He went on to host the X Games for 13 years before exiting in 2012 to join Red Bull Media as lead host for sports and music as well to create Emmy Award nominated series VICE World of Sports.
Following Disney and ESPN’s sale of the X Games to MSP Sports Capital in 2022, Masekela has returned to on-air coverage with the brand.
“Selema has been a trailblazing force in the skate and action sports cultures over the past two decades,” X Games interim COO Scott Guglielmino said. “His influence extends past just sport, into fashion, music and art – and most importantly their intersection. We’re excited to have him back in the fold at X Games. Since assuming control from ESPN and Disney little more than 18 months ago, X Games is now a 30-year-old start-up, which is exciting. We’re in growth mode. We’re working on myriad plans to elevate the brand, the action sports landscape, and most of all, be a platform for athlete growth. Selema will play a key role in helping X Games live up to our ambitious plans.”
Masekela created the Emmy-nominated “Vice World of Sports” series, and has served as host and commentator across ESPN’s NBA coverage, E!’s Daily 10, Vans Pipeline Surf competitions and shows for National Geographic.
In 2020, Masekela joined Burton Snowboards’ board of directors. He has two albums recorded under his artist name, ALEKESAM, is the co-creator of coffee table book “AFROSURF,” and the co-founder of fashion surf brand Mami Wata and streetwear brand AlphaNumeric.
Masekela told Variety he hopes “to help resurrect the X Games soul” in his new role, adding: “Innovation and change will spring from there.”
“My top priority for this X Games is simple,” he said. “Create a fun, entertaining and memorable broadcast that showcases the magic of these world class athletes and leaves the viewer wanting more.”
Best of Variety