CJ Oliveras, former General Manager of Fuel TV.

Today, August 26, 2011, CJ Oliveras announced that he was leaving Fuel TV, the action sports inspired channel that was among the first to push more mainstream media to cover a so-called “subculture” of sports. As the General Manager and Executive Vice President for 8 years, and a very influential person in the core action sports scene, this came as big news.

It also highlights many changes that are taking place in action sports as the industry continues to morph in new directions. For example, when Fuel TV announced several months ago that it would also be covering events from the UFC scene, they took some heat. UFC and MMA are gaining in certain genres but for the action sports communitiy, which already lost it’s trade show due to many reasons, this was another change that was not taken well.

In the press release below, CJ Oliveras says, “As the network continues to evolve, I realize that my passion remains the action sports that were FUEL TV’s core and I now have the opportunity to explore the emerging possibilities in the expanding action-sports entertainment landscape.”

Perhaps there is more on the horizon for core action sports. Ironically, the X Games just announced the inclusion of Enduro motocross events and more in rally which are ESPN roots, but raises questions about the action-sports-ness of it all back in the beginning. Thus, the bigger question of what IS action sports now?

Obviously, the industry itself, as it becomes more mainstream, is under enormous transformation as speculation arises about skateboarding and surfing in the Olympics, snowboarding’s leader in this movement, Terje Haakonsen, among others, addressing qualification rules for snowboarders (and the ongoing debate there), not to mention the changes in skiing events (slopestyle) and the Olympics. (Keyword search on Olympics or snowboarding gives the scoop.)

Here’s the latest:
CJ Olivares, Executive Vice President and General Manager of FUEL TV, is leaving the network he helped launch eight years ago to pursue opportunities more closely related to the action sports genre to which he remains passionate. He stays on as a consultant to provide transitional support, with a focus on FUEL TV’s action sports programming and associated sponsor relationships.

A 20-year television veteran, Olivares is credited with creating the original vision, mission and programming mix that drove FUEL TV to its current position as the network with the highest concentration of young males in all of cable television.

“CJ has worked tirelessly to make FUEL TV live up to its original mission of providing unique, male-oriented sports and entertainment programming with a distinctive voice,” said FOX Sports Media Group Chairman David Hill. “We thank him for his creativity and dedication, and appreciate his commitment to the action sports world in which he has unparalleled expertise. He will be missed.”

Launched in July 2003 as an “action sports and lifestyle” cable network, FUEL TV’s demographic target has expanded over the last several months and as a result so has its programming philosophy. While FUEL TV continues to include sports like skateboarding, snowboarding, surfing and motocross in its male-focused programming mix, it has recently completed multiple development, production and program licensing deals that broadened its programming base.

“It has been my honor and privilege to lead a team of dedicated and talented professionals at FUEL TV these last eight years,” offered Olivares. “As the network continues to evolve, I realize that my passion remains the action sports that were FUEL TV’s core and I now have the opportunity to explore the emerging possibilities in the expanding action-sports entertainment landscape.”

Before joining FUEL TV, Olivares served as CEO of Broadband Interactive Group (BIG), a multi-media company, and also advised Extreme Group Ltd on their expansion into the action sports genre. He became director of operations for FSN predecessor Prime Sports’ Event Group in 1996, later becoming director of program development and acquisitions for FSN in 1997.

 

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