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Winter X Games to be held outside US for first time after Calgary secures three-year deal

Calgary, the largest city in the Canadian province of Alberta, has been awarded the rights to host the Winter X Games for three years from 2020.

The finalisation of the deal is dependent on funding being secured through corporate sponsorships, but this is unlikely to prove a significant hurdle.

The news means the 2020 Winter X Games is set be the first ever to be held outside the US, and the first in almost 20 years not to take place in Aspen, Colorado, the home of the Games since 2001.

ESPN has operated joint ventures previously to take versions of the Winter X Games to the Norwegian capital Oslo, Tignes in France and a yet-to-be-confirmed location in China, but this is the first time it has taken its flagship Winter X Games event outside its home market.

According to the Calgary Herald, the city has committed $13.5m in investment to hosting the X Games over the three years. The event is expected to support 540 jobs and bring 75,000 spectators to Calgary for each of the three years, with an expected total economic impact to the city of $75m per year.

“We’re excited to be taking this step toward hosting the first X Games on Canadian snow,” Nenshi said. “It’s about bringing Calgary to a world stage. The economic spin-offs are significant, and support our plans for tourism and economic development.”

Speaking to SportBusiness earlier this month, X Games vice-president Tim Reed discussed the economic benefits of hosting the winter sports showpiece, particularly for attracting a younger demographic.

“One thing Aspen has seen is that X Games brings in a totally different, younger audience,” he said, adding that “the potential for [X Games fan] to come back is really strong. If you show the city as a fun, young, vibrant place, you’ll attract a younger, different demographic.”