More than 20 North American cities have been qualified as potential future hosts of the X Games beginning in 2014, when the contract for Los Angeles expires, and 2015, when the contract for Aspen expires, ESPN and the X Games said in a statement released last week.
Qualified hosting entities in 17 cities in the U.S. and Canada were named after formally submitting letters of intent in response to a request for proposals that was announced in October 2012; promoters in several other cities currently in the running for the three-year contracts have elected to remain anonymous until the next stage in the process.
The existing agreement with Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), longtime presenters of the X Games in Los Angeles, concludes with X Games Los Angeles 2013, taking place August 1-4. New summer locations being considered to host the four-day summer event from 2014 through 2016 include nearby California cities Long Beach and Pasadena, as well as Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago, Detroit, Fort Worth, Minneapolis, Montreal, New Orleans, and Philadelphia, which previously hosted the X Games in 2001 and 2002, prior to the move to Los Angeles in 2003.
The Aspen Skiing Company -- which is hosting the X Games at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, Colo. this week, January 24-27, for the 11th consecutive year -- has an existing agreement through 2014 and is among the qualified entities to host the four-day winter event from 2015 through 2017. Attendance at the X Games this week is predicted to surpass the 120,000 mark, with global television broadcasts reaching an estimated 260 million homes in more than 200 countries.
"We have a long history and great partnership with ESPN and the X Games franchise, and we feel strongly that we'd like to keep it here and continue that partnership," says Jeff Hanle, director of public relations for the Aspen Skiing Company. "It's been a great run for us, and the X Games have become almost synonymous with our brand in some ways, so we're always happy to have them back."
Other potential wintertime X Games locations in consideration include Lake Tahoe, Park City, and Canada's Quebec City and Le Massif de Charlevoix.
This year the global X Games expansion will include a total of six locations, with international events in Tignes, France (March 20-22), Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil (April 18-21); Barcelona, Spain (May 16-19); and Munich, Germany (June 27-30), in addition to the North American events in Aspen, Colo. and Los Angeles, Calif.
The very first X Games were held in Newport, R.I. in 1995. San Diego, San Francisco, and Philadelphia also hosted summer X Games events before the move to Los Angeles in 2003. The winter X Games were first held in Big Bear Lake, Calif. in 1997 and were also held in Crested Butte, Colo. and Mount Snow, Vt. before moving to Aspen in 2002.
Official proposals from the potential hosts for future X Games events are due by April 2.