The regional competition for sports like aggressive in-line, skateboard and BMX freestyle alongside break-dance performances, music and an interactive arena, is now held annually in Shanghai.
In 2008, more than 52,800 people attended the event, which is held at Yangpu district's KIC Jiangwan Sports Center, up 55% compared to the previous year.
Interest in extreme sports has grown quickly in cities like Shanghai, which has an international heritage and some of the wealthiest and most trend-conscious teens in the country. Shanghai is home to the largest skateboard park in Asia.
Still, it remains largely a spectator sport in the mainland. China's one-child policy has prompted cautious parents to support safer sports like table tennis and basketball, if they encourage kids to take part in sports activities at all.
This year, the main organizer, ESPN Star Sports, a joint venture between ESPN and News Corp. in Asia, has pulled more sponsors into the six-day event.
In addition to Hyundai Motor Co.'s affiliate Kia Motors, which became the title sponsor last year, PepsiCo is sponsoring the sports event to market its Mountain Dew and Doritos brands among young Asians.
"Doritos targets to Millennials and it's a brand with a bold and edgy attitude. The X Games audience and experience fit nicely into our strategy and we think it's a great platform to connect with our core target," said Leo Tsoi, VP of marketing for PepsiCo's food brands in China, based in Shanghai. The term "Millennials" refers to consumers born between 1982 and 2001.
ESPN has also retained the apparel marketer Pony as a sponsor and signed up the American ice cream chain Cold Stone Creamery.
ESPN first developed its X Games franchise in 1995. The first Asian event was held in 1998 in Phuket, Thailand and moved around the region until it was established permanently in Shanghai in 2007.
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