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This summer's X Games have been the "most successful of the four summer editions of the made-for-TV alternative sports festival," according to USA TODAY's Sal Ruibal. More than 250,000 fans attended the event (USA TODAY, 6/29). Total attendance this year was 242,850, up more than 20,000 from last year, but in Dallas, Richard Alm writes that attendance is "not decisive for the business side" since admission is free. Alm: "ESPN makes its money from sponsors. For the most part, the X Games are a mainstream marketing vehicle" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/30). In San Diego, Paula Bott reported that the media "jumped on the extreme-sports craze" for this year's games, as CNN, Nickelodeon, the Boston Globe and USA Today were among new members of the event's media credential list. Also at this year's games, 25 international magazines and BBC Radio were represented among the more than 700 journalists and broadcasters" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 6/29). EXTREME DEMANDS? San Antonio officials said they were interested in bidding to host the '99 and 2000 X Games, but that the demands from X Games officials to host the games "were just a bit too extreme." Bob Gennarelli, Assistant Exec Dir of the San Antonio Bowl Association: "The commitments they wanted were really more than we could do right now" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 6/26).
U.S Soccer is hoping for a crowd "in excess of" 20,000 for this Sunday's U.S. Women's team match against Germany in Chicago. So far, more than 115,000 tickets have been sold for next year's Women's World Cup (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/28). ...St. Louis' successful bid to host the 2005 Final Four in the Trans World Dome was examined by Tom Wheatley in Sunday's ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH (6/29). The St. Louis Regional Commerce & Growth Association (RCGA) predicts that the Final Four will generate $45.7M in direct spending for the local economy, including $14M at retail outlets, $11M at hotels, $9.5M on entertainment and $9M at restaurants and bars. The RCGA says that with indirect spending factored in, the event's total impact "tops" $90M (ST. LOUIS POST- DISPATCH, 6/28)....In L.A., Steve Springer wrote that a "boxing revival now seems underway" in Las Vegas, with the Mirage and Mandalay Bay casinos planning new 12,000-15,000 seat arenas. Caesars Palace will hold their fights at the Thomas & Mack Arena "for now," allowing it to bring in the "high rollers" and shuttle them back to the casino to gamble, while "leaving the less desirable elements of the fight crowd ... elsewhere" (L.A. TIMES, 6/28).