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X Games adds three international events

ESPN will hold a bidding process to select the three new locations, with results expected to be announced in April 2012. New events might be added based on locales selected.

May 17, 2011|By Baxter Holmes
  • Travis Pastrana could be showing off his high-flying rally talents in a locale other than Los Angeles in the near future.
Travis Pastrana could be showing off his high-flying rally talents in a… (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles…)

The X Games, the world's largest action sports competition, took a step toward increasing its global footprint Tuesday when ESPN officials announced it will double to six annual events beginning in 2013, with the new three events being held outside the U.S.

The franchise, now in its 17th year, currently holds events in Los Angeles during the summer and in Aspen, Colo., and Tignes, France, during the winter. But under the new plan, four total events will be international.

"It's absolutely great. I'm super pumped," said Travis Pastrana, a motocross and rally racing driver who has appeared in 11 X Games and won 17 medals — 11 of which are gold.

ESPN will hold a formal competitive bidding process to select the three new locations, which will be signed to three-year agreements and work with ESPN to stage the events. The bids are expected to be announced in April 2012, officials said.

Several criteria, such as location and a cooperating organization, are in consideration and ESPN has created a website – – for cities to submit entries. Bids are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT on July 1.

"Everybody's got a fair shot at this," said Scott Guglielmino, ESPN senior vice president of programming and Global X Games. "That's why we're going through the formal bid process."

It's yet to be decided which of the new events will be winter or summer events. Officials said it is possible new action sports events could be added if the location allows for it; for example, a surfing event could be a possibility for an X Games held in Australia.

But each event is set to be comparable in size to ones held in L.A. and Aspen.

"Nothing will shrink," said Ron Semiao, ESPN vice president of content strategy and the X Games founder. "In fact, you may see some things enhanced."

A total of 130 hours of live television coverage of the six events will be broadcast on ESPN networks in the U.S. and internationally. There will also be online coverage, including a year-round action sports website.

In terms of the timing of the announcement, Guglielmino said, "This was the right time with the growth of the sports, their significance as well as us being prepared internally."

X Games began in 1995 in Rhode Island, but has grown, with 14 countries having hosted competitions in recent years.

X Games 17 is scheduled to be held July 28-31 in Los Angeles.

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