X Games expanding to six annual events

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenMay 18, 2011
ESPN is doubling the fun.
Gretchen Bleiler at this year's X Games.
Troy Hooper

In 2013, the sports juggernaut will broaden the reach of the X Games, adding three international cities to its existing slate of winter events in Aspen and Tignes, France, and summer competition in Los Angeles. The move will mean six annual X Games events; four of them outside of the United States.

"It has been incredible to see the X Games grow from its relatively underground inception in 1995, to a thriving global competition circuit today," pro skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, a mainstay of the X Games and TV analyst, said in a statement. "Our sports have benefited greatly from the positive exposure over the years, and I am proud to have watched it all evolve since the beginning."

The beginning began in Newport, R.I., where the first Summer X Games was held and Stowe, Vt., host of the first Winter X Games. Since then, the moving sports extravaganza has taken its show to cities big and small like Crested Butte, San Diego, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

Ever since landing in Aspen in 2002 and Los Angeles in 2003, however, the X Games has found fine fits with the communities and their arenas that have made it difficult for ESPN's organizers to leave.

ESPN and the Aspen Skiing Company currently have a contract to keep the Winter X Games here through 2012.

Decision-makers in Bristol, Conn., and in Aspen say they'd like to continue the partnership beyond that year.

Next year, ESPN will hold a competitive bidding process to select the three new locations, which will be expected to ink three-year agreements and work with the sports network to stage the events. ESPN brass say 130 hours of live television coverage of the six events will be broadcast on their networks. There will be online coverage, too.

"We are incredibly excited to take the X Games to the next level," Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president of programming and Global X Games for ESPN, said in a statement. "While we have produced events under the X Games banner outside the U.S. for many years, these [three] new X Games events will be of the same size and stature as the Los Angeles and Aspen events."

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