‘I Was a Brand’- Tony Hawk Reveals How He Made Skateboarding a Huge Business

Published 10/20/2021, 11:21 AM EDT
KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA – MARCH 24: Laureus Academy Member Tony Hawk signs autographs as he visits an urban skateboard park ahead of the Laureus World Sports Awards at Kiara Skate Park on March 24, 2014 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Laureus)


One name that is synonymous with snowboarding is Shaun White. His brand elevated him to heights that fellow snowboarders would envy him for. However, before White came up, Tony Hawk gave most of these guys the privilege to showcase their talents.

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An architect of the famous X-Games, Hawk’s tales in skateboarding echo through many skateboarders in the world. Thus, he created a business empire that ranks up there with the best. In a recent interview, he spoke about how he created business empires by skating boards.

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Tony Hawk is an icon

A major fan of NBA legend Michael Jordan, these two athletes have created a name for themselves from their years of commitment to their skill. After dropping the infamous ‘900’ trick in an X-games competition, Hawks’ success skyrocketed through the top. Hence, his business empire grew from those accomplishments.

“It really stemmed from the success of our video games and how suddenly my name was not just synonymous with video games but with skateboarding in general. And I realized that suddenly I was a brand, and that was really strange.

“But I understood that it allowed me an opportunity and allowed me to start to create other businesses and to promote skating in a way that I never imagined,” said Hawk.

19 Aug 2001: Tony Hawk in action during the men’s skateboard vert doubles at the 2001 X-Games at First Union Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Hawk and his partner Andy McDonald won the competition . DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit : Ezra Shaw/Allsport

Creating brands out of yourself is important. However, Hawk did not take time to identify his entrepreneurial abilities; he was one of the youngest teenagers in the world with bucket loads of cash, ever since he was 17.

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Hawk’s incredible business empire

By the time he was 16, he became the greatest skateboarder in the world. His sponsorships with Powell-Peralta skateboards boosted his income and earned him more money than his school teachers. He established a video production company in 1999 named 900 Films, which produced content like the YouTube channel RIDE and made advertisements for Kraft, Sony, and Adobe.

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He then invested in California’s Blue Bottle Coffee chain, which was then sold to Nestle for $500 million. Likewise, he funded Nest before as it got acquired by Google for $3.2 billion in 2014. Similarly, he appeared on several TV shows and films including Simpsons.

The greatest involvement from a business point of view was with Activision as they created Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video game. Although the company offered him a handsome amount of $500,000 to put his name, he rejected that deal. Instead, he asked them to give them royalties from sales, as the game became an instant hit. According to the sales report, the game sold over $1.4 billion copies, which left him with incredible riches.

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Thus, his life as an entrepreneur is staggering. After being a professional skateboarder for a long time, Hawk’s ideologies obtained from a young age paved the way for him to become an incredible business tycoon.

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Jacob Gijy

653 articles

Jacob Gijy is a US Sports and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Gijy finished his Masters in Counselling Psychology and worked in a hospital for 2 years before his passion for sports compelled him to find his way to sports journalism. A fan of the great Tim Duncan, he is always ready to pick up a debate with anyone who does not offer the center the respect he deserves.

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