Winter X Games coming to Calgary in 3-year deal
The Winter X Games will be coming to Calgary for a minimum of three years.
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi announced Wednesday that the city has secured exclusive Canadian rights to host the annual extreme sports event.
The Winter X Games is held over a four-day period and hosted by ESPN. It features skiing and snowboarding competitions including Big Air, Slopestyle and Superpipe.
Launched in 1997, the Winter X Games were first televised in 2002 and have grown in popularity and scale since then.
The event, which usually happens in late January, is now held at international venues throughout the world and features not only sporting competitions but a full festival lineup with big-name musical performances.
Hosting the X Games would bring significant economic benefits to Calgary, with a Wednesday news release saying the event could bring an estimated $75 million in annual economic activity as well as 75,000 annual spectators and more than 10,000 out-of-region annual visitors.
“The economic spinoffs are significant and support our plans for tourism and economic development,” Nenshi said.
Alberta Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Miranda expects the event to support 540 jobs annually.
WATCH: Ward 1 Coun. Ward Sutherland joins Doug Vaessen to discuss negotiations that are underway to bring the Winter X Games to Calgary.
Ward 1 Coun. Ward Sutherland told Global News that he hopes Calgary could become the full-time home of the event.
“We want this to be permanent. We want to be a two-event city… so we’d have the Stampede during the summer and the X Games during the winter,” Sutherland said.
“If we could do this right and build it, it could be permanent at the Stampede grounds and Winsport.”
Sutherland said everything is falling into place to help the event land in Calgary, pointing to an announcement from the federal government on Tuesday that it would help bankroll the expansion of the BMO Centre.
“Now, all we need is a new event centre,” Sutherland added, referring to one that will potentially be built in Victoria Park.
He said the Winter X Games would be “great for the economy” and that it’s a “huge win” for Tourism Calgary and the Calgary Stampede.
WATCH: X Games could offer Olympics legacy refresh for Calgary
Tourism Calgary CEO Cindy Ady said her organization has been pursuing the rights to bring this project to life for almost a decade.
“Hosting X Games has long been a goal of Tourism Calgary as it would further solidify our position as Canada’s winter sport capital and further our reputation of being the ultimate host city,” she said.
X Games vice-president Tim Reed also expressed his enthusiasm for bringing the extreme sports event to Calgary.
“Canadian athletes have a rich tradition of high-level performance at X Games events, and to bring the X Games to their backyard would be awesome,” Reed said.
“When you combine the amazing athletes with the backdrop and venues of Calgary, the potential is there to produce a really special Canadian-inspired X Games.”
The first-ever X Games were held in the summer of 1995 in Newport, RI.
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