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Minneapolis to become new home of summer X Games

ESPN, the US sports broadcaster and creator of the X Games, has selected Minneapolis as the next American host city for the summer edition of its action sports event under a two-year deal.

The Minnesota city will host an X Games summer event on July 13-16, 2017 and July 19-22, 2018 at U.S. Bank Stadium, the new home of NFL American football franchise the Minnesota Vikings. ESPN said the selection followed a “highly competitive” bidding process in which Minneapolis ultimately edged out multiple cities for the hosting rights.

Tim Reed, vice-president of the ESPN X Games, said: “We believe that teaming up with the City of Minneapolis, Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (MSFA), SMG and Meet Minneapolis and the truly impressive new, state-of-the-art U.S. Bank Stadium will provide an extraordinary opportunity to grow the X Games in a new region of the country and in a city that’s quickly becoming recognised as a premier sports and entertainment destination.

“It was a very competitive bid process and we feel privileged to have had such great interest and thank the multiple cities that participated in the process. Ultimately, the combination of resources, support, fit and passion from the Minneapolis team brought us here and we couldn’t be happier.”

The new 66,000-seat U.S. Bank Stadium is set to formally open on Friday and has been developed at a cost of $1.1bn (€996.4m). The X Games adds to the roster of major events the venue has already secured, which includes the NFL’s 2018 Super Bowl and the 2019 Final Four college basketball tournament.

It is anticipated that X Games Minneapolis will see the majority of the competition hosted at U.S. Bank Stadium, at both the indoor stadium and the adjacent Medtronic Plaza and Downtown East Commons. The X Games will be the first multi-day sporting event held at U.S. Bank Stadium. 

Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority, said: “The X Games will be in Minnesota for 2017 and 2018. We intend to put on such a great event that we hope they consider making U.S. Bank Stadium their permanent home.”

ESPN announced in March that the summer X Games event would not return to Austin, Texas, next year and opened a bidding process for US cities interested in hosting the event for consecutive years in 2017 and 2018.

The X Games have taken place at Austin’s Circuit of the America’s (COTA) motorsport facility each year since 2014 and this summer’s event ran in the city from June 2-5. Austin had been due to stage the event again in 2017, but ESPN elected to end its agreement with the city one year earlier than planned and seek a new host.

The summer X Games has taken place in a total of nine different cities around the world in its 20-year history, including various other locations in the US such as Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 2001, and Los Angeles, California, more recently in 2013, prior to relocating to Austin.