SBJ/March 26-April 1, 2012/Events and Attractions

MSG cancels plans for NYC action sports event

Madison Square Garden Inc. has abandoned plans for New York City’s first major BMX and skateboard event this summer.

The event, which was to be called the Empire Open, was to have been held in Queens at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The company last year hired ASA Entertainment, an action sports event and television production company, to assist in developing and producing the event.

In anticipation of the Empire Open, MSG last summer created an action sports division and produced a BMX and skateboard demonstration in Times Square called Air in the Square.

An MSG spokeswoman declined to comment on the Empire Open, but provided a statement that said MSG remains interested in action sports.

“We are constantly exploring potential growth opportunities for MSG Sports,” the statement said. “We continue to be very interested in the action sports space and are always exploring new event and partnership opportunities.”

This summer’s Empire Open is the second planned action sports event in New York that has been canceled. Quiksilver canceled its ASP World Tour surf event, the Quiksilver Pro New York, late last year. The company didn’t provide a reason for the cancellation at the time.

MSG partnered with Quiksilver to broadcast the 2011 Quiksilver Pro New York event. It’s unclear if that event’s cancellation had any effect on plans for the Empire Open.

MSG’s networks — MSG, MSG Plus and Fuse — have a history of showing action sports programming. In addition to the Quiksilver Pro New York, the networks broadcast Red Bull Snowscrapers, a 2009 snowboard competition along the East River, and BMX rider Kevin Robinson’s attempt to set the world record on a BMX bike by soaring to a height of nearly six stories in 2008.

New York has a strong BMX and skate community, but no multisport event organizer has tried to bring a competition to the city.

The Maloof Money Cup held a skateboard-only competition in Flushing Meadows in Queens in 2010 and 2011.
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