Skateboarding is more than an extreme sport – it’s a flourishing market within the sports industry. There are many corporations that spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year marketing to this group of individuals. What was once an alt-crowd mainstay is now a full-fledged industry, with once small companies now being traded publicly on Wall Street. Skateboarding has turned from a pastime of teenagers into a fully grown Sport. That mainstream appeal and success is owed to a select few, a group of mainstream stars that drew audiences and helped propel the sport into the headlines.
Most of the individuals who have started big companies once started out as pro skaters, able to take their love of skateboarding and turn it into a business. With the same drive they used to top the charts of professional skateboarding, these individuals were able to create companies with massive revenues. No longer where these skateboarders just some punk kids in the skatepark. They were now entrepreneurs and businessmen targeting the market they knew best.
For success in the skateboarding business, look no further than American superstar Tony Hawk. Easily one of the biggest skateboarders that the sport has ever known, he is the icon behind many of the most difficult tricks that have ever been landed. Hawk was immortalized in the sport when he became the first to land a 900 degree rotation. He has also been instrumental in pushing the sport in the world of business. In the early 80s, he was one of the first individuals to bring skateboarding to the mainstream, with many kids looking up to Tony Hawk as an idol – one of the first examples of an extreme sports athlete being widely considered a sports hero. Kids began copying his outfits, hairstyle, and lifestyle. Of course, the road to the top was a long one, and required discipline, talent, and more than a little lucky. Here's the story of how Tony Hawk became a massive business success.
6 The Early Days
Hawk’s interest in athletics began quite early. He first tried baseball, but found he wasn't very good. He was so harsh on himself that his parents, worried about his mental state, had him tested at school. They found that he was very gifted, with an IQ over 140. It was largely thanks to that natural intelligence that Tony was able to develop an intense mental discipline and apply it when it comes to skateboarding.
Luckily, Tony found his love for skateboarding early on, quickly joining competitions to put himself and his passion to the test. It was something of a relief for Tony's parents, who were very happy to let him skate in competitions, which they saw as a constructive outlet for his energy. Tony was great at what he did, and was the national skateboarding association champion for 12 years in a row. Tony had now found the sport where he was able to excel.
5 The X Games And The 900
The rise of the X games gave extreme athletes a high-profile place to show off their skills, a surrogate Olympics for sports like skateboarding, rollerblading, and biking. Tony Hawk was no stranger to the X games. He quickly became a crowd favorite, and started winning events. He earned over 12 medals altogether, and 9 X games gold medals. It was an incredible feat, and made Tony Hawk one of the most decorated skateboarders in the world.
The trick that really brought Tony Hawk into the limelight was his famous 900 spin. In July 1999, during the X games, Tony Hawk attempted his 900 spin during the best trick competition. He attempted the trick 12 times before he was able to finally land it. When Hawk landed the 900, history was made. He had not only pushed his own limits by landing the 900, but he also pushed the limits of skateboarding as a sport. The 900 spin quickly became Hawk's signature trick, and brought him instant fame on a level that he had never had before.
4 Tony Hawk Pro Skater Videogames
After Tony Hawk found fame with his 900, Activision thought it was a great time todevelop a property around the superstar. The video game giant approached Hawk in hopes of making a skateboarding video game, with Tony Hawk’s name and appearance serving as the branding for the franchise.
The move paid off. Tony Hawk Pro Skater became an instant hit, with the title quickly becoming a bestseller. The initial game spawned numerous sequels, and the franchise is one of the most successful and long-running ever. The sales of the games in this series are a major contributor to the massive financial success Hawk has enjoyed throughout his career.
3 Hawk Clothing And Birdhouse
In keeping with his strategy of trading on his name and brand, Hawk created a professional skateboarding company, Birdhouse. Birdhouse has not only created some of the best skateboards in the industry, but has also developed some of the best apparel in the industry as well. The company has a track record of sponsoring the best riders and coming out with top videos, and the clothing brand continues to be one of the most visible companies in skateboarding.
It was the right move at the right time, and one that really paid off for Hawk. The loyalty of the skateboarding niche, coupled with the strong Tony Hawk brand, paid off in spades. The fact that the products on offer by the company are of a high quality certainly helps, too. What’s more, Hawk clothing has been welcomed into Walmart stores, a huge win for the company in its bid to reach even more consumers.
2 Tony Hawk’s Appearances In The Media
Hawk has appeared in many TV shows and movies, cementing his status as a public figure in today's pop culture. For many, when extreme sports are mentioned, Tony Hawk is the first person to come to mind. He has been on many radio shows, announced many competitions, appeared on several reality TV programs, and been in many full-length feature films in cameo roles.
Of course, Hawk has his own projects in the world of multimedia. One of his best business ventures has been his YouTube channel ride. That channel, Ride, is one of the best skateboarding channels on YouTube, and showcases the new adventures of Tony Hawk and his team. Ride also has many instructional videos for skateboarders, product reviews, and other informative videos for skateboarders. It’s one stop shopping for skateboarders, and is easily one of the best YouTube channels in the action sports world.
1 Giving Back To The Community
Hawk also gives back, actively engaging himself in a good cause. Hawk has a foundation that focuses on building skate parks in areas with underprivileged children. Sports as crime prevention is known for being rather effective, and the skate parks would never be available to the at-risk youth of these communities if Hawk wasn't building them through his foundation. With his love and passion for skateboarding, and the financial ability to affect real change, Hawk has proven to be a role model both on and off a board.
Easily the most famous skateboarder in the world, and arguably one of the most famous athletes of recent memory, Tony Hawk’s name and brand continue to go strong, in the world of skateboarding, in the business world, and through his charitable works.
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