Starting in 2013, ESPN will hold six yearly X Games in different locations around the world. Bidding to host the international events started today.
International X events aren’t anything new. Since their inception in 1995 X Games have been held in 14 countries, and this year, in addition to Summer X in Los Angeles and Winter X in Aspen, there were events in Tignes, France, and Shanghai, China. But the expansion, dubbed Global X, will turn the X Games into the largest action sports competition in the world, according to ESPN.
Each event will stand on it’s own. Points and prizes won’t carry over, and there’s currently no plan to turn X Games into a series or a tour, says Ron Semiao, ESPN’s Vice President for Content Strategy and the creator of X Games.
The breakdown of winter and summer competitions depends on the cites that are selected, but Scott Guglielmino, ESPN’s Senior Vice President for Programming, says it’s likely that it’ll shake out as either four summer and two winter events, or three of each.
The current winter stops, Aspen, Colorado, and Tignes, France, are still contenders. ESPN’s contract with Aspen is through 2012, and Guglielmino says they’re looking to continue it, although it’s not set in stone. The Tignes agreement is through 2012 with the option to extend to 2014, and he says they’d like to keep holding that event, too. “We’re talking about it now," he said. “It’s a really well received event.”
The host city bidding process starts today, and ESPN will have finalists by the end of the calendar year. Cities that are picked will host X Games for three-year stints.
For skiers, particularly halfpipe athletes gearing up for the 2014 Sochi Olympics, additional X Games stops could mean added stress, and having to choose between competitions. But Sarah Burke, who spoke at a press conference about it this morning, said that she thinks athletes will still make an effort to compete at X.
“X Games has always been the main one, the dream,” she said. “People will make room in their schedules for it.”