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No X Games for Houston

Alas.

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, N.C. 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.”

[…]

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 Koehler. Charlotte has mounted a public campaign as well with a Facebook and a LinkedIn page.

The new host city is expected to be announced this summer.

The city of Houston had submitted a bid to host the X Games here, but apparently that didn’t measure up. Austin’s bid was made in conjunction with Circuit of the Americas, which is their new F1 Grand Prix facility. Here’s their press release on making the cut.

Austin’s proposal included utilizing the 1500-acre Circuit of The Americas facility, located in southeast Austin near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, as the primary site for the competition. With the on-site infrastructure for hosting tens of thousands of fans, entertainment amenities such as the Austin360 Amphitheater and park-like Grand Plaza, and lots of space to stage a variety of competitions, X Games officials determined the site is well-suited for the massive event.

“This is fantastic news for Austin and Circuit of The Americas,” said Paul Thornton, leader of the effort on behalf of Austin extreme sports fans and the Circuit. “ESPN’s X Games are hugely popular, large-scale sports and entertainment events that have become an important part of the annual major events calendar. Bringing the X Games to Austin would mean a significant economic impact for our community, bringing fans, competitors and media representatives from around the world to our hometown while once again putting Austin in the international spotlight.”

“We are thrilled that Austin is on the short list,” said Matthew Payne, executive director of the Austin Sports Commission. “We feel that the world-class venue at Circuit of The Americas is the perfect location for the ESPN X Games. If we are selected, the exposure for the city of Austin would be great on all fronts.”

[…]

ESPN will next schedule site visits to the four cities on the list of finalists, with a visit to Austin anticipated the week of June 3-7. ESPN will announce the new host city for the summer version of the X Games later this summer. Fans and community members can do their part to help Austin land the ESPN X Games by visiting the dedicated Facebook fan site, www.facebook.com/xgamesaustin, clicking “Like” and sharing messages of support that will be read by ESPN officials and X Games fans worldwide. There is also a dedicated Twitter account, www.twitter.com/xgamesaustin, for supporters that want to keep tabs on progress and participate in the discussion.

Best of luck, Austin.

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