X Games will expand to three new international sites in 2013 with six total events
Beginning in 2013 the X Games, the world's largest action sports competition, will expand from three annual events to six, ESPN announced Tuesday, with four of the events to be held outside the U.S. as organizers seek a stronger global foothold for the franchise, now in its 17th year.
Currently, X Games events are held in Los Angeles during the summer and in Aspen, Colo., and Tignes, France, during the winter. Under the new plan, called Global X, four events will be held outside the U.S. ESPN will hold a competitive bidding process beginning in 2012 to select the three new locations, which will be signed to three-year agreements and work with ESPN to stage the events.
"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."
ESPN plans for the new X Games events to be comparable to the events held in L.A. and Aspen. A total of 130 hours of live television coverage of the six events will be broadcast on ESPN networks both in the U.S. and internationally. There will also be online coverage, including a year-round action sports website.
"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 four new X Games events will be of the same size and stature as the Los Angeles and Aspen events."
X Games events began in Rhode Island but have grown internationally, with 14 countries having hosted competitions. X Games 17 is scheduled to be held July 28-31 in Los Angeles.
-- Baxter Holmes
Photo: Bob Burnquist soars high above the X Games crowd at Staples Centerin 2005. Credit: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times