Here’s a theory: when you ask people to name a skateboarder, almost everyone will say the same name. Tony Hawk.
Tony Hawk is almost synonymous to skateboarding. How did he achieve this? How Tony Hawk Build A Billion Dollar Business ? Besides being an outstanding skateboarder, Hawk has always been ahead of his time. He bet on video games and viral videos when most other brands were still printing flyers to reach their fans.
Welcome to derbusinessman.com. In this article, we break down the business of Tony Hawk and how he became one of the most famous athletes on the planet.
Beginning Of Tony Hawk
Before we deep dive into his strategies, let’s take a quick look at his beginnings to understand his rise.
This is Tony Hawk’s first board ever. He got it from his brother when he was nine. It is now on display at the National Museum of American History.
“It wasn’t like he stepped on it, and suddenly angels were singing. He just kind of slowly got good at it. But he loved it right away.”
(Tony’s brother Steve Hawk) In one failed trick attempt, he knocked himself out, lost his front teeth, and suffered a concussion. Hawk was 10 years old at the time.
A genuine love for the sport got him through, and by age 12, Hawk was winning California state competitions. He turned pro two years later, and at 16, was considered the best skateboarder on the planet.
Hawk was suddenly earning over 100,000 dollars a year and purchased his first house at 17. But in the early 90s, the reputation of Skateboarding took a massive hit.
Young Skaters were being seen as ‘nuisance slackers’ and skate parks started to close under the weight of sky-high insurance premiums.
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As participation and sponsorship fell, Hawk’s income was being cut in half every month. He was eventually forced to sell his house and travel the country performing skate demos for 100 dollars a day.
So, how did Tony Hawk, a homeless and broke Skateboarding champion, become one of the most famous athletes of all time? In the mid-90s, ESPN created the X-Games.
An extreme sports event where the best athletes compete for gold, silver, and bronze as well as prize money. Basically the Olympics but made for gen X.
Tony Hawk advocated to include Skateboarding and luckily, ESPN agreed – making skateboarding an adrenaline filled action sport again. Soon, Hawk and his fellow competitors started drawing huge crowds, and at its peak in ‘99, over 260,000 people attended the event.
It was one trick at this event that would change Tony Hawk’s life forever. The contest had just finished and the announcer asked Hawk if he would be willing to attempt the notorious 900 trick for the waiting crowd.
This was one of the most memorable and raw moments in action sport history. It was the first time a skater had mastered the 900. Hawk had been trying and failing for almost 10 years! And also on this day, he failed a couple of times but just kept going – which made his final success even more special.
ESPN had kept showing the entire thing although the original event was already over, resulting in major screen time for Tony Hawk and Skateboarding.
“It was a really rare moment where the world got to see what actually happens on a day-to-day basis with skateboarders.”
The determination and collective spirit of the skateboarding community hit a chord with the watching public. Skateboarding had entered mainstream popularity and Tony Hawk was the face of the sport.
This achievement coincided with the release of the video game Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Hawk was a big video game fan himself and – after talking to a couple of game developers – Activision approached him and turned out to be the perfect partner. But Hawk added much more than just his name to the game.
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While developing, Hawk played every new version from start to finish and gave his feedback. He made sure that the virtual world was populated with real-life pros, wearing real skate apparel, performing tricks at real venues.
He even chose the background music. He also worked closely with the engineers to ensure that the tricks performed in the game were legitimate and accurate.
Smart Decision Of Tony Hawk
Activision offered Hawk a 500 thousand dollar buy-out to use his name and image. In a risky move and against the advice of his then manager, Hawk refused – and decided to opt for a percentage of the future sales.
It turned out to be the best business decision he ever made. After a year of development, Tony Hawk Pro Skater was released and went on to sell over 7 million copies.
Within two years, Hawk had made ten times their initial offer. As of 2022, there have been 20 games released in the series. Almost every single game has been a commercial success, earning Activision around 1.5 billion dollars.
Thanks to its authenticity, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater created a whole new video game genre. It is the best-selling action sports franchise of all time.
The game’s success also helped Hawk reach a global audience. His face, name, and apparel company logo were all featured prominently, giving him millions of free impressions every year.
Hawk is often ahead of his time – when coming up with creative marketing strategies. We’ll give some entertaining examples in a minute, after understanding the magnitude of his brand.
A study – conducted in 2002 – named Hawk ‘the coolest big-time athlete’ ahead of Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan. “I mean everyone knows Tony Hawk.
it’d be kind of embarrassing if you didn’t.” “I think everyone knows Tony Hawk.” “He’s basically become a household name, especially in the US.”
Most Influenciary Sport Star
Hawk has managed to remain one of the most influential action sports stars, despite retiring from professional skateboarding in 2003. There is one secret to Hawk’s incredible longevity…going viral.
In ‘84, Hawk’s sponsor, Powell Peralta, decided to film him and his fellow skaters performing tricks across L.A. The video, titled ‘The Bones Brigade Video Show’ was one of the first action sports videos to be released and became an instant viral hit.
In 2009, President Obama invited Tony Hawk to the White House. While being given a tour, Hawk was allowed to perform a simple trick down one of the corridors. The images became iconic, but what helped them go viral was the fact that some right-wing commentators were deeply offended.
They accused Hawk of desecrating a national monument. No pun intended. Hawk has also mastered social media.
Trick Used By Tony Hawk To Increase his Twitter Following
In 2008, he decided to hide a skateboard in a random bush and tweeted the location.
20 minutes later and someone had found the board. The stunt created a massive hype, so Hawk decided to scale it up and now hosts a yearly treasure hunt where he hides over 100 gifts across multiple countries.
Within one year of the initial tweet, Hawk’s Twitter following grew from a few thousand to over 2 million. If we had to summarize everything he does with one word it would be: authenticity.
The 900 at the X-Games, the video game, and his viral marketing stunts – Tony Hawk always kept it real. He inspired millions of skaters around the world and paved the way for the best to turn pro and make a living with what they love the most.
Hawk is likely to go down in history as one of the most influential athletes of all time. Or can you think of any other athletes who single-handedly pushed their sport to new heights?
So here we get many things to learn from Tony hawk his ways and techniques comment below if you have any question any other query.
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