The X Games will expand to six action sports competitions annually beginning in 2013.
Called Global X, the initiative will combine three new international events with the X Games in Los Angeles and Winter X Games in Aspen and Tignes. The sites of the three new events are yet to be announced, subject to a competitive bidding process.
Although the X Games has experimented with global events before, the new plan calls for competitions equal in size and scope to the current flagships in Aspen and L.A, according to Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president of programming and Global X for ESPN.
"The six events we're talking about won't deviate from the core in terms of progression, top athletes, and pulling out the biggest tricks," Guglielmino said. "Back in 1995 when we got started it was more of a fringe element to action sports when it came to the sporting and cultural landscape," Guglielmino said. "Clearly action sports has moved far more mainstream as a category of sport. For us this is the next logical step."
All six events will be treated equally from a competition, content, programming and marketing standpoint. In fact, ESPN has committed to distribute 130 hours of live programming internationally around the six events.
Pro skateboarder and X Games legend Tony Hawk has been an integral part of the X Games since its inception. "It has been incredible to see the X Games grow from its relatively underground inception in 1995 to a thriving global competition circuit today," Hawk said. "Our sports have benefited greatly from the positive exposure over the years, and I am proud to have watched it all evolve since the beginning."
First held in 1995 in Rhode Island, the X Games is now in its 17th year (X Games 17 returns to Los Angeles from July 28-31). This year two events were held outside the United States -- Winter X Games Europe in Tignes, France, and X Games Asia in Shanghai, China. In past years, competitions have been held in 14 countries including Brazil, Mexico and Malaysia.