ESPN yesterday named Detroit, Austin, Charlotte and Chicago as the four finalists to host the Summer X Games beginning in '14, and it appears Detroit "may be the front runner," according to a front-page piece by JC Reindl of the DETROIT FREE PRESS. ESPN in its release "devoted far more ink to Detroit than the other three hopefuls, praising the bid committee’s website and its lively Facebook and Twitter marketing campaigns." Detroit's bid committee recently has been "busy securing financial commitments to host the games from an undisclosed number of local sponsors." X Games Detroit Founder & Dir Kevin Krease said that Cavaliers Owner Dan Gilbert "will become chairman of the Detroit X Games host committee if the bid wins." Krease and a friend "started putting together the city’s X Games bid late last year" with help from former Detroit Super Bowl XL Host Committee Exec Dir Susan Sherer (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 5/1). In Detroit, Josh Katzenstein notes Ford Field, Joe Louis Arena and the raceway at Belle Isle could be "among the venues" to host events if the city were to secure the X Games. Detroit's bid also "includes a plan to add a skate park" along the city's riverfront. Gilbert is "among the list of interested private partners that would provide the financial infrastructure for the event." Krease said that the "only financial burden for the city will be in providing police and other services typical for an event of this magnitude." ESPN Senior VP/Programming & Global X Games Scott Guglielmino said that ESPN could "make a decision on the host city as early as June." Officials will "spend the next 4-6 weeks conducting site visits" (DETROIT NEWS, 5/1).
SOUTHERN ACCENTS: In Charlotte, Jim Utter notes if the city is selected, a "majority of the action sports competitions" would be held at "different venues within the Charlotte Motor Speedway complex" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/1). In Austin, John Maher notes Charlotte also is "home to what could be an intriguing site for an extreme event, the U.S. National Whitewater Center." The complex "boasts the world’s longest man-made whitewater river, with rapids that can reach Class IV." Meanwhile, the Circuit of the Americas has been "behind Austin's bid." COTA has recently hosted MotoGP and has an "amphitheater that can hold more than 14,000 people" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 5/1). In San Antonio, Mike Haag noted COTA has launched a "dedicated Twitter account," as well as a Facebook page in attempts to strengthen Austin's bid for the X Games (MYSANANTONIO.com, 4/30).