1. Dietrich Mateschitz

CEO of Red Bull

Dietrich Mateschitz     Photo: Joe Ciardiello

Launched Action sports

We don’t know if Dietrich Mateschitz really cares about BASE jumping or snowboarding or air racing, but we do know that the famously reclusive 67-year-old Austrian has a thing for marketing. Since bringing Red Bull to the United States in 1997, Mateschitz has positioned the hypercaffeinated energy drink as the primary sponsor of the action-sports movement, funding everything from wakeboarding competitions to waterfall kayaking to big-mountain freeskiing. Put it this way: without Red Bull, it’s unlikely the extreme-sports boom would have happened at all—it’s estimated that the company has poured $300 million into -sponsorship of these edgy games. Now Mateschitz is moving into more traditional athletic realms—golf, basketball, and surfing. This year, Red Bull also launched a record label and a glossy magazine in the U.S. Up next: a reality show starring Red Bull–sponsored athletes.

By the Numbers 4.2 -billion: cans of Red Bull sold last year; 500: sponsored athletes, including Travis Pastrana, Will Gadd, and Danny MacAskill

Second Opinion “It’s like -having a rich uncle who believes in you even if the whole world thinks you’re crazy,” says Gadd. “A few hundred years ago, artists and writers had patrons that would support their economically unviable efforts. Red Bull is the modern patron—no, saint—of action sports.”

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