Chicago's X Games Bid Includes Holding Some Events In United Center Parking Lots
Hosting the X Games would bring about $50M in "economic impact to Chicago per year," and also "might restore some measure of civic pride after the failed Olympics bid," according to Robert Channick of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. ESPN Senior VP/Programming & Global X Games Scott Guglielmino said that it costs about $20M to "stage the X Games, an expense ESPN is looking to defray through partnerships with prospective host cities." While the "proposed deals vary, strategies include splitting ticket sales and corporate sponsorship revenue between local organizers and the network." Chicago Sports Commission Exec Dir Sam Stark said that the city's X Games proposal "envisions no taxpayer funding, with minimal financial risk to local organizers." At the same time, the "size and vitality of the Chicago market will boost revenue-sharing opportunities for the network." Stark said, "There's a potential upside in ticket sales, in corporate partner sales, in hospitality sales that will be appealing." In Chicago, motocross, road rally and skateboard park events "would be on United Center's parking lots, with the balance of events held inside." The indoor/outdoor mix "may also work in Chicago's favor." Guglielmino said, "Weather is always a potential issue for us and it will be the same thing in Chicago. The nice hedge is that you've got a portion of the event indoors, and it's always good to have a mix." He added that while a "parking lot setting may sound less than glamorous, background shots and other programming would feature the city prominently." Guglielmino: "You'll get the city skyline in most of the shots that we will shoot. Part of it is the cultural piece that falls around the events and the cities themselves, and making sure we capture that as much as we can" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/11).
X FILES: ESPN.com's Keith Hamm noted for this year's event, Rally Cross and Big Air competitions at X Games L.A. "are relocating from the city center" to Irwindale Event Center, a motorsports facility 20 miles east of downtown, where they "will join a new X Games event: Ford Gymkhana GRID." All other skateboard, BMX and Moto X competitions will be held in downtown L.A. at Staples Center and the Event Deck at L.A. Live "for X Games' final year in L.A." (ESPN.com, 6/10).