Should RVA be the new home of the ESPN X-games?

by | Jun 30, 2016 | POLITICS

The X-Games, ESPN’s alternative/extreme sports competition, is searching for a new home and the folks on our local Subreddit think RVA should throw our collective hat in the right for a chance to host.


The X-Games, ESPN’s alternative/extreme sports competition, is searching for a new home and the folks on our local Subreddit think RVA should throw our collective hat in the right for a chance to host.

The annual X-Games offers athletes from often unsung sports to show their best in a well constructed and produced environment. Over five days, skate boarders, BMX bikers, top billed musicians and more put on a pretty impressive show for the world to see. For the last few years, Austin, TX has given the gathering a place to set up shop, but it seems that agreement is coming to an end.

“We’ve been honored to call Austin home of the X Games since 2014 and are proud to have run world-class competitions for athletes, hosted amazing musicians for our fans and sponsors together with the Circuit of The Americas,” said Tim Reed, vice president, X Games on their official website. “We thank COTA, the City of Austin and State of Texas for their support, and look forward to an amazing final X Games Austin event this June. Looking to the future, we’re enthusiastic to identify the next X Games host city and continuing to improve and bring the franchise to new locations and fans.”

Admittedly we’ve had a bit of a troubled recent-history with sporting events taking over Downtown. The 2015 UCI Race choked businesses as mixed messages from the city and event organizers sent locals running to make room for the “450,000” spectators to the event.

Of course, after the event was confirmed and things got underway that “450,000” number turned into “450,000” cumulative, and when the folks at RVANews ran the numbers it got even more grim. Needless to say, there’s few calls to have UCI return.

But what about the X-Games? The incredibly broken “economic impact” section of the event’s site has some impressive statistics associated with the event.

“Your city will be transformed by the energy and visibility of X Games,” promises ESPN. “It all begins with the arrival of hundreds of the world’s best action sports athletes. It culminates with five days of thrilling action, four days of live broadcasting and literally a world of media exposure.”

Man, we have heard that before.

So why are they leaving Austin? According to the local paper the Statesman, there was a number of factors; The venue they use got offered a bigger contract, rumors of backdoor tax incentives complicated things too. But ESPEN said it was more about TV scheduling and Austin weather than anything else:

The all-sports network said it wants the X Games to take place during their more traditional midsummer TV window. Because of Central Texas’ extreme heat, the Austin games were held during the first week in June. This year’s event will be June 2-5.

“The big thing was getting back to mid- or late July or early August,” said Tim Reed, vice president of the X Games. “Early June is pretty heavy on the sports calendar, with the NBA and NHL playoffs, NCAA baseball tournament, horse racing and other things. The middle of summer, where we’ve been for most of our 22 years, is a better fit for us.”

Richmond’s August-weather isn’t stellar, but it’s certainly not the dry heat Texans are accustomed too.

As for broad economic impacts, according to the Statesman, the event “has been good to Austin” with numbers from ESPN suggestion the first two years brought as many as 300,000 people to the city and about $172 million in economic impact.

That sounds a lot more realistic than UCI’s promises, and I’d rather watch skateboarding than some Dutch guy bust his ass riding down Monument Ave’s cobblestones.

Okay, I’d like to watch both.

And Richmond actually has a history hosting skate-boarding events. It appears, back in 1999, we hosted the Skateboard X-Trials, a preliminary event leading up to the X-Games. Check out video below because that’s pretty much all we know about what happened there.

Notice the Dominion building in the back there. Cool!

So would you want to see RVA host the X-Games? Let us know in the comments below! And if you work for the city and want to get RVA in the running, head on over to their bid site here.

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner is the former editor of GayRVA and RVAMag from 2013 - 2017. He’s now the Richmond Bureau Chief for Radio IQ, a state-wide NPR outlet based in Roanoke. You can reach him at BradKutnerNPR@gmail.com




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