SBJ/20090727/This Week's News

X Games faces key decision on future sites

X Games is in discussions to renew a five-year contract with AEG and return to the Staples and Home Depot centers next year, but the property is also considering a move to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum or possibly another city like New Orleans.

X Games events now at Home Depot Center could
end up at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
X Games Booty
ESPN is giving athletes gift bags valued at $700 this year to commemorate the past 15 years of X Games. X Games sponsor New Balance created a customized backpack with an X Games logo that will be filled with:
Aspen Skiing Co. “Save Snow” energy light bulb
Brushfire Records A vinyl record
Chronicle Books “Stalefish” skateboarding book
Greenopia Eco-guide to Los Angeles
Klipsch Image X5 headphones
Mattel X Games fingerboards
Mizu Life Eco-friendly stainless steel water bottles
Sara Happ Lip scrub
Saxx Performance underwear
Solar Style Solar charger
Wet Cement Handmade T-shirts
Source: ESPN

“There’s no question Los Angeles and AEG have been the absolute right fit, but it’s incumbent upon us to look at our various options,” said Rick Alessandri, ESPN senior vice president.

As the X Games have grown, they have become a gathering place for many in the action sports industry. For example, DC Shoes and other companies this week will take over Los Angeles’ Standard Hotel. Such event-related revenue flowing into the Los Angeles area makes ESPN executives believe the X Games should generate more revenue from community and venue partners.

The AEG contract with the X Games, which expires this week, provided the property a mix of cash and value-in-kind services. The property is in talks with AEG about extending that deal under new terms. Should it fail to reach an agreement, Alessandri said, it would consider other options.

One of those options would be relocating outdoor events from the Home Depot Center to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The X Games has done events at the coliseum in the past and is familiar with the facility. Moving to the coliseum would inject newness into an event that has spent the last five years in the same location. It also would reduce the drive X Games attendees currently make between the Home Depot Center, which hosts daytime events like motocross and skateboarding in Carson, Calif., and the Staples Center, which hosts nighttime events like moto step-up in downtown Los Angeles.

Alessandri

“The grandness of that building, the history of that building, the proximity of that venue to downtown — it could be pretty exciting,” Alessandri said of the Coliseum.

Another option might be to open the X Games up for bid and let cities put forward offers to bring it to their markets. Several cities, including New Orleans, have expressed interest. Alessandri declined to disclose other cities, but Dallas, Phoenix and Miami have expressed interest in hosting the X Games in the past.

The New Orleans Sports Foundation will be visiting the X Games this week to learn more about the event but has no immediate plans to lure the X Games to Louisiana. “If the opportunity to bid on hosting X Games were to present itself, we would certainly be excited to demonstrate how New Orleans could provide an irresistible backdrop for the event,” Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation spokesman Sam Joffray said in an e-mail.

The X Games may develop a bid process. It is learning more about several bid processes, including how the International Olympic Committee selects the host city for the Olympic Games. Alessandri said the X Games may emulate the IOC selection process or others in the future.

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