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Attendance Is Excellent

August 18, 2003|Rob Fernas | Times Staff Writer

Organizers of the X Games reported Sunday that their event exceeded expectations for attendance by doing turn-away business on the final day of competition in Los Angeles.

The four-day total of 108,966 established a Staples Center attendance record for a multi-day event, eclipsing the previous mark of 100,000 for the Democratic National Convention in 2000, according to X Games spokesperson Melissa Gullotti.

Total X Games attendance at all venues was 187,141.

Some fans with tickets were given refunds after encountering long waits to enter Staples Center in the afternoon, Gullotti said.

The problem occurred after spectators watching the day's final outdoor event, the skateboard park final, tried to enter an already near-capacity Staples Center. Fans only were allowed to enter after others had left the arena.

Sunday's attendance for all events at Staples Center was 39,343.

"There's never a firm number that's established as far as capacity," said Chris Stiepock, X Games general manager. "We have to remain fluid as far as that decision is concerned.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday August 20, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 61 words Type of Material: Correction
X Games -- A Sports article Monday about the X Games incorrectly reported that the event's four-day total attendance of 108,966 established a Staples Center record for a multiday event. It was a record for average daily attendance for a multiday event, but the record total for a multiday event is 125,345 for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Jan. 6-13, 2002.

"It's a combination of the [judgment of] the fire marshal and Staples Center personnel, along with our personnel, to make sure ultimately everyone is safe and everyone is having a safe experience."

To help shorten waits, organizers opened all the available seats in Staples Center for the day's final events. Some seats had been closed off because of obstructed views.

Stiepock said among the most difficult aspects of planning the event in Los Angeles was not knowing what to expect.

"The nature of action sports is such that kids would rather be doing them than necessarily watching them," he said. "[But] we were very optimistic and thought that we would draw well. I think we've exceeded our expectations. We're very pleased with the number of people that have turned out for our event."

With the X Games scheduled to return to Los Angeles next year, Stiepock was already looking ahead to 2004. It follows two-year stays in Rhode Island, San Diego, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

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