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X-Games

Austin wins X Games

Congrats, Austin.

The X Games are going from the glitz of Los Angeles to deep in the heart of Texas.

Athletes with skateboards and motorcycles will be competing in the Texas capital after ESPN announced Wednesday that Austin will be the next North American host city for the X Games.

“Austin over the last several years has really become synonymous with supporting big events,” said Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president, ESPN programming and X Games. “The music scene is fantastic. The night life is fantastic and definitely a young, active town.”

Austin also has the new Circuit of the Americas sports and entertainment complex, which will be the primary site for X Games Austin. The 1,500-acre complex opened in November by hosting the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix and held a MotoGP motorcycle race in April.

Austin was selected over three other finalists: Chicago, Detroit and Charlotte, N.C. There were initially 13 qualified bids for the Olympic-style selection process, with Austin picked to host for four years starting next May 15-18.

“X Games is a great action sports competition and is an ideal fit for the city of Austin, which has a tremendous fitness orientation, a tremendous action sports community,” said Steve Sexton, president of Circuit of the Americas.

See here for some background. Well done, Austin. Hope you enjoy the experience. If nothing else, at least you’ll have something else to complain about after SXSW ends.

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.

Feeling good about the Super Bowl bid

The city of Houston has submitted its bid to host Super Bowl LI in 2017, and they feel pretty good about their chances.

Houston’s competition will be San Francisco or Miami – the city that fails to get the coveted Super Bowl L.

League owners will vote on both Super Bowls on May 22 in Boston.

For now, Houston officials are confident but cautious because they know there are more steps in the process to host the first Super Bowl at Reliant Stadium since 2004, when New England defeated Carolina.

“We feel really good about our chances,” said Ric Campo, chairman of the host committee. “We believe Houston will be hard to beat.”

[…]

Campo, chairman and chief executive officer of Camden Properties, pointed out the numerous improvements the city has made or will make before 2017.

“The east-west light rail will be completed in 2014,” he said. “We’re building a new 1,000-room Marriott Marquis that’ll be a bookend to the Hilton-Americas. We’ve got Discovery Green.

“The NFL requires at least 19,000 rooms in the city. We have more than 20,000, including 6,000 downtown.

“For fans and visiting teams, it’s going to be the ultimate experience. We’ve got world-class buildings and incredible venues for the NFL Experience and Super Bowl Village.”

Don’t forget our nationally-known restaurant scene now, too. It’s a little funny to think how much has changed since Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004. We’ve been confident about our chances from the get go. We’ll see if our optimism is warranted.

The general feeling around the NFL is that San Francisco, with its new stadium in Santa Clara, will beat out South Florida for Super Bowl L. South Florida is trying to get $400 million for stadium improvements.

At the league’s spring meetings in Phoenix last month, officials from South Florida met with the owners and asked for help.

“The mayor of Miami was trying to get the NFL to make a commitment that if they passed this referendum there, they’d get a Super Bowl,” Texans owner Bob McNair said in Phoenix. “The league would not make that kind of commitment.

“They had no assurance that if we voted them a Super Bowl that they would get the money. I think the governmental bodies in South Florida are going to have to move first and say, ‘OK, we’re going to approve the stadium, and we’ll take our chances on the Super Bowl.’

“It’ll be interesting to see what happens in Miami that will impact our chances of getting the Super Bowl. If they don’t get improvements to their stadium, I think that’ll work against them.”

You would think that after the debacle that was the financing of Marlins Stadium that the Dolphins would be tarred and feathered for making such a request, but this is Florida. You have to grade on a curve.

In related news, via Swamplot the city also put in its bid to host the Summer X-Games for the next three years. (See here for more on that.) We won’t know the answer for that until August, though we will know if we make the next round of cuts shortly. We have a lot more competition for this, including Austin and Fort Worth. Wouldn’t it be cool to get both bids?

The Summer X-Games

Another sporting event that could be coming to Houston.

The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority is making a bid for ESPN’s action sports event, an annual competition that began in 1995.

“It’s definitely another feather in our cap,” said Janis Schmees, the CEO of Harris County-Houston Sports Authority. “It’s a useful event, it’s a great timing because we have a brand new skate park that we just broke ground on. There, it attracts a younger crowd. Even in the Olympics they’ve added snowboarding because they’re trying to keep the youth excited about the Olympic movement. I think that up and coming generation loves the X Games.”

[…]

The winner will host the event over a three-year span from 2014 to 2016.

“The three year model allows for the event to grow and develop in the region and identify efficiencies over the course of the hosting period,” said Deane Swanson, ESPN’s senior director of event management, X Games, in an e-mailed statement.

Representatives from HCHSA traveled to Aspen, Colo., last month during the Winter X Games to meet with officials of the games. ESPN representatives have also made a site visit. Reliant Stadium, BBVA Compass Stadium and the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark are among possible venues for the games.

Los Angeles, which has hosted several Summer X Games, saw a $50 million economic boon from the 2010 games, according to economic research and consulting firm Micronomics. That figure came from a $12 million influx from increased tourism, $6 million related to the television broadcast production and $12 million from direct spending associated with the games. It also factored in the monetary value of having 31 hours of live programming throughout the games.

Yeah, yeah, economic impact projections, ’nuff said. This would still be a cool thing to have. We’re in a much better position to compete for this sort of thing now, too. Final bids are due on April 2, and the decision will be announced in August.