The X Games exited Southern California "with a bang" yesterday, the "same way it entered 11 years ago," according to Keith Lair of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. The event "drew thousands of enthusiasts when it came" to L.A. for the first time in '03, and it finished yesterday with "compact cars banging and crashing on a dirt course at Irwindale Speedway in the San Gabriel Valley." Lair: "What a run it's been as the X Games franchise heads to Austin." ESPN Senior VP/Programming & Global X Games Scott Guglielmino said, "We thought the event was terrific, but it is bittersweet to be leaving Southern California after a terrific stay. We tried new things and we were very happy with that. We have very unique ties to Southern California and from that perspective, we felt like we were home." Being in Southern California "managed to expand" the X Games brand. Based on the "success of the franchise, ESPN officials expanded the X Games successfully to events in Brazil, Spain and Germany." It was "perfect here because skateboarders and motocross riders live here" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/5). Guglielmino said there were "two catalysts in moving" from L.A. to Austin. Guglielmino: "One of them was a footprint issue. Over time, we've grown as far as our aspirations for the event. ... The other thing, in regards to moving to Austin, was just to keep the event fresh, switching things up a little bit, move it into more of what we're calling a festival feel, which takes another huge footprint." However, he added, "I'd be shocked if we didn't have an X Games presence in Southern California somewhere down the road" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 8/4).
RALLY CAPS: The DAILY NEWS' Lair noted Global RallyCross will "be in Southern California for a long time." RallyCross CEO Chip Pankow said, "This is our home and we'll be doing events here again." Yesterday's X Games finale "sold its allotted 5,000 seats although Irwindale Speedway, which held the event, can hold 6,500 in its bleachers." RallyCross competitor Scott Speed said, "This motorsport is really growing. I'm glad to get in on the ground floor of it." Lair notes RallyCross held its "inaugural event, viewed by only 1,200, in 2011 at Irwindale." Pankow said, "We had an amazing crowd. They were enthusiastic and understood. If we have a good crowd, we want to come back and take care of them." Pankow said that where the series "races in future years in Southern California is an unknown" (DAILYNEWS.com, 8/4).