ESPN and the Aspen Skiing Company have reached a landmark agreement that will keep the Winter X Games in Aspen/Snowmass through 2007. The announcement was made four days prior to the official start of Winter X Games VIII, the third straight Winter X Games held at Buttermilk, an Aspen/Snowmass area mountain.
This year's event, to be held January 24-27, will mark the first time a city has hosted an X Games for three consecutive years. To date, X Games events has changed sites every two years. As part of the new agreement, the Winter X Games will remain in Aspen/Snowmass for a total of six consecutive years (2002-2007).
"This monumental commitment illustrates our belief that Aspen is an ideal home for the Winter X Games," Ron Semiao, the Senior Vice President of ESPN Original Entertainment, said. "We applaud Aspen Skiing Company, the city of Aspen and the entire Colorado snowsports community for sharing our vision and supporting this long-term arrangement."
David Perry, Aspen Skiing Company's Senior Vice President, added, "Our partnership with ESPN illustrates this resort's overall commitment to hosting core sports and action entertainment. Much hard work and negotiation went into securing Winter X Games from now through 2007. We couldn't have made this happen without the support and cooperation of the community, especially the City of Aspen, Mayor Helen Klanderud and council. We thank them for recognizing that events like the Winter X Games are a key driving force for bringing business and tremendous energy to Aspen/Snowmass."
Last January, Winter X Games VII in Aspen drew more than 48,000 spectators and set viewership records: all telecasts (ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC Sports) garnered an average of 412,673 households, the highest in the event's history and a 33% increase from the 310,810 average households for the 2002 Winter X Games.
"We are excited to partner with ESPN and to help promote the Winter X Games," said Mary White, Senior Vice President of the Comcast Colorado Market, which will support the Winter X Games through marketing initiatives. "Comcast is committed to supporting our mountain communities, and our participation gives us the opportunity to showcase our cutting edge services to thousands of sports enthusiasts."