After more than 10 years in and around downtown Los Angeles, the X Games will leave Southern California for a new destination next year. Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Texas, and Charlotte, N.C. have been announced as finalist cities to earn three-year contracts to host the North American summer stop on the X Games global tour beginning in 2014, the X Games said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The X Games have grown significantly and has been enjoyed by millions of fans over the past 10 years in Los Angeles,” Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president, programming and X Games said in a statement. “Our partners AEG and the city of Los Angeles have been instrumental in our success. As we embark on a year of significant global expansion and transformation for X Games in 2013, we are excited about the potential each of these cities bring, and look forward to identifying our next host city for the X Games.”
Last October, X Games began taking bids from cities hoping to host the games — an Olympic-style bidding process where groups representing each city sent in proposals as the contract between the X Games and AEG was set to expire after the 2013 X Games in Los Angeles. AEG, a Los Angeles-based entertainment company which owns Staples Center, the L.A. Kings, L.A. Galaxy and a minority stake in the L.A. Lakers among other properties, was up for sale last year and a contract to extend the X Games in Los Angeles was not agreed upon, so downtown L.A. was out of the running. However, Long Beach and Pasadena were announced as qualifiers in January, but those two cities missed the cut for the final round, meaning the X Games will not return to Southern California next year.
Detroit has been the most vociferous in its desire to host the games, at least on social media. The committee representing the Detroit bid has started a Facebook and Twitter campaign and a website encouraging people to sign up to “join the movement.” Dan Gilbert, owner of Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers, has recently added his support to the committee headed up by Kevin Krease and Garret Koehler. Charlotte has mounted a public campaign as well with a Facebook and a LinkedIn page.
The new host city is expected to be announced this summer.
The contract with Aspen, Colo., host of the winter X Games since 2002, expires after the 2014 event, and proposals to host the North American Winter X Games are due in June.
This year, the X Games expanded into six events worldwide, kicking off in Aspen in January, then to Tignes, France, in March, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, in April, and will head to Barcelona, Spain, in May and Munich, Germany, in June before returning for its Los Angeles finale in August.