LOS ANGELES—In an unprecedented move for the X Games, ESPN, Inc. and AEG have reached a five-year agreement that will keep the premier action sports competition in Los Angeles through 2009. It was announced today by Ron Semiao, Senior Vice President, ESPN Original Entertainment, and AEG President and CEO Timothy J. Leiweke. Los Angeles, which has hosted the last two X Games (2003, 2004), will now serve as the site for the next five, beginning with X Games 11 Aug. 4-7, 2005 (previously announced in March). AEG—owner and operator of STAPLES Center and The Home Depot Center, the two primary X Games venues—represented the City of Los Angeles in reaching the agreement.
The distinctive arrangement marks a continuation in the X Games site selection pattern. The event has rotated sites every two years: Rhode Island (1995-96), San Diego (1997-98), San Francisco (1999-2000) and Philadelphia (2001-02). Winter X Games has a long-term location in Aspen/Snowmass, Colo. through 2007.
As part of the new pact, The Home Depot Center on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, Calif. will host an increased number of X Games competitions, while other events will return to AEG's STAPLES Center in Los Angeles. Wakeboard will return to Long Beach Marine Stadium for X Games 11; the Surfing venue will be announced at a later date. The annual X Games showcases more than 150 of the world's top athletes competing in BMX Freestyle, Moto X, Skateboard, Surfing and Wakeboard. Tickets for X Games 11 will be available for purchase in mid-June at all Ticketmaster locations, Ticketmaster.com and the box offices at STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center and Team LA at Universal CityWalk.
"The X Games culture and the City of Los Angeles have an indelible connection," Semiao said. "The city's diverse population and amazing climate mixed with AEG's world-class venues provide an ideal backdrop for fans, athletes and sponsors. Like we've done for Aspen with the Winter X Games, we're thrilled to establish Los Angeles as a long-term X Games home, which will allow for increased strategic planning and an enhanced experience for all."
Leiweke added, "We are pleased to announce this extension of AEG's very important partnership with ESPN, an organization we consider the best in sports content and distribution. The opportunity for Los Angeles, STAPLES Center and The Home Depot Center to be the home of the world's most recognizable action sports event for the next five years will not only have a huge impact on our economy but will provide the perfect stage for the continued growth of this tremendous event. We are grateful to ESPN's George Bodenheimer, Mark Shapiro, Mark Quenzel and Ron Semiao for their continued support and faith in Los Angeles and AEG."
"Los Angeles is honored to host the premier action sporting event, the ESPN X Games, for the third year in a row," said Los Angeles Mayor Jim Hahn. "By calling Los Angeles home for the next five years, the X Games will help us make history, and will play an important role in expanding both the action sports industry and our economy here in Southern California. I encourage all Los Angeles residents and visitors to be a part of the X Games and help keep this remarkable momentum going."
ESPN and AEG have worked together on previous arrangements, including the ESPY Awards, World Cup and Major League Soccer (MLS).