2016 X Games

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The Summer X Games return to Austin from June 2-4, with this year’s event marking the end of a short-lived but exciting era. With live television coverage on ESPN and ABC, this festival of action sports, owned by ESPN, will be celebrating its third and final year at Circuit of the Americas. The games, which will feature more than 200 athletes competing in various skateboard, BMX bicycle and motocross events, will also host musical performances from the likes of blink-182, G-Eazy, All Time Low and Logic.

2016 will mark the 21st year of the X Games. The first edition was held in 1995 in Newport, Rhode Island, with the first Winter X games arriving in 1997. The popularity of the games has helped push action sports such as skateboarding and snowboarding into the cultural mainstream, with a number of its events even being added to the Olympics.

Over the years, the X Games competitions, especially the summer version, have moved among such locales as San Francisco, San Diego, and Philadelphia, with a run in Los Angeles from 2003-2013. In 2014, the X Games arrived in Austin, setting up shop at the brand new Circuit of the Americas raceway in Elroy, just southeast of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Since then, the Summer X Games event has been a popular destination for Austin’s young adults and teens, especially as it has coincided with the first weekend of the end of the local school year. Estimated attendance for the first two years has been nearly 300,000 fans combined, according to ESPN, with an estimated local economic impact of $172 million. However, despite those encouraging numbers, this year will offer the last chance for X Games fans to see the event live in Austin.

The decision to leave Austin was a mutual one between ESPN and Circuit of the Americas, according to various publications and the Circuit of the Americas’ own Facebook page. Apparently, the sports network wanted to move the X Games to later in the summer, to avoid direct competition for viewers and media attention with the NBA Finals and NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs. However, as local residents know too well, hosting the event in late July or early August might be unbearable in Austin’s mid-summer blast furnace weather.

The next destination for Summer X Games hasn’t been determined yet, although a number of cities including Fort Lauderdale, Kansas City, Seattle and Minneapolis have been mentioned as possibilities. No matter where it heads next, Austinites get one more chance to experience the excitement up close. For more information, including how to buy tickets, visit the X Games site. General admission tickets start at $39 and offer VIP, one-day and three-day experiences, including music options.

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