ESPN Shutters Global X Games After One Year, Puts Focus On Annual U.S. Events
ESPN on Thursday announced that it was shuttering its Global X Games property after one year and concentrating instead on its Winter and Summer X events in the U.S. The company said the economics of events in Barcelona, Munich, Foz do Iguacu and Tignes were not sustainable. The announcement brings an end to an expansion of X Games that began two years ago when ESPN turned it into a global property and held a bid process for three new X Games. ESPN hoped to sell eight to 10 global sponsorships for its four international and two domestic X Games, but it sold only four (Red Bull, Go Pro, Ford and U.S. Navy). The company also ran into significant production costs associated with the event (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer). In Denver, Jason Blevins noted ESPN "promised it remained 'fully committed' to the X Games and its competitions in Aspen and Austin." Still, Aspen is "waiting for word from the network about Winter X contests" beyond '14. The latest two-year contract between the Aspen Skiing Co. and ESPN expires after the January '14 event, "after 13 years of X Games at the ski company’s Buttermilk ski area." Aspen has bid to "retain the winter circus," but two Lake Tahoe-area ski sites have "submitted a joint bid." ESPN has said that an announcement about the Winter X host "will land this fall" (DENVERPOST.com, 10/3). Aspen Skiing Co. VP/Sales & Events John Rigney said that he has been "in regular communication" with ESPN officials about "a long-term X Games contract extension." Rigney said that he was "caught off guard" by the shuttering of the Global X Games, but he believes that Aspen is now "in a better position to hold on to the valuable event." Rigney: "Regardless of what went on with their global expansion, their focus on Aspen and now Austin is a testament to our community" (ASPEN DAILY NEWS, 10/4).