Charlotte named finalist to host X Games starting in 2014
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Could the X Games really be coming to the Queen City? Charlotte is one of four finalists to host the games beginning next year.
After more than 10 years in and around downtown Los Angeles, the X Games will leave Southern California for a new destination next year.
Chicago, Detroit, Austin, Texas, and Charlotte have been announced as finalist cities to earn three-year contracts to host the North American summer stop on the X Games global tour beginning in 2014, the X Games said in a statement on Tuesday.
"The X Games have grown significantly and has been enjoyed by millions of fans over the past 10 years in Los Angeles," Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president, programming and X Games said in a statement.
"Our partners AEG and the city of Los Angeles have been instrumental in our success. As we embark on a year of significant global expansion and transformation for X Games in 2013, we are excited about the potential each of these cities bring, and look forward to identifying our next host city for the X Games."
Last October, X Games began taking bids from cities hoping to host the games -- an Olympic-style bidding process where groups representing each city sent in proposals as the contract between the X Games and AEG was set to expire after the 2013 X Games in Los Angeles.
AEG, a Los Angeles-based entertainment company which owns Staples Center, the L.A. Kings, L.A. Galaxy and a minority stake in the L.A. Lakers among other properties, was up for sale last year and a contract to extend the X Games in Los Angeles was not agreed upon, so downtown L.A. was out of the running.
However, Long Beach and Pasadena were announced as qualifiers in January, but those two cities missed the cut for the final round, meaning the X Games will not return to Southern California next year.
Charlotte has mounted a public campaign as well with a Facebook and a LinkedIn page.
"We're honored to be one of four finalists in consideration to host the X Games in 2014 and beyond," said Marcus Smith, president and general manager of Charlotte Motor Speedway.
"In many respects, Charlotte Motor Speedway was one of the original action sports venues, having hosted world-class NASCAR and NHRA events that have drawn the attention of international audiences for more than 50 years.
If selected, a majority of the action sports competitions, which range from skateboarding and BMX to Rally Car and Moto X, would be hosted at different venues within the Charlotte Motor Speedway complex.
"These events combine extreme action sports entertainment with the ESPN brand for more than 100,000 fans on site and tens of millions watching worldwide," Smith continued.
"Like the annual running of our NASCAR races or last year's Democratic National Convention, the X Games would bring a tremendous spotlight to the greater Charlotte region and the great state of North Carolina."
Smith says the Speedway is planning to work with its business and tourism partners from across the region as it moves forward in the selection process.
Detroit has been the most vociferous in its desire to host the games, at least on social media.
The committee representing the Detroit bid has started a Facebook and Twitter campaign and a website encouraging people to sign up to "join the movement." Dan Gilbert, owner of Quicken Loans and the Cleveland Cavaliers, has recently added his support to the committee headed up by Kevin Krease and Garret Kohler.
The new host city is expected to be announced this summer.
The contract with Aspen, Colo., host of the winter X Games since 2002, expires after the 2014 event, and proposals to host the North American winter X Games are due in June.
This year, the X Games expanded into six events worldwide, kicking off in Aspen in January, then to Tignes, France, in March, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, in April, and will head to Barcelona, Spain, in May, Munich, Germany, in June then return for its Los Angeles finale in August.
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