Houston among ten finalist cities to host Summer X Games from 2014-2016

Adam Jones performs a trick during practice for the Moto X Freestyle event at the XGames, Thursday, June 28, 2012, at Staples Center in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Grant Hindsley)

January 31, 2013 4:02:27 PM PST
Houston has hosted Super Bowls, a World Series, the NBA Finals and All-Star games. And now the city is being scouted for extreme sports. It could be the site for the Summer X Games for skateboarding and other events.

If Houston is picked, it could mean a big influx of cash from people coming to see some of the action sports stars. On Thursday, people with the X Games were taking a look at what the city has to offer.

Next month, Houston hosts the NBA All-Star game. It's just the latest big time sporting event to come to the Bayou City. But if city planners have their way, a four-day, internationally televised event called the X Games could call Houston home for three straight years. And as the kids would say, that could mean some sick money.

The Jamail Skate Park near downtown Houston is one of the fastest in the world. Skateboards from all over the world come here to drop in and try it out.

But on Thursday, there was a group of visitors who weren't there to skate. They're from the X Games, the Olympics for extreme sports, and they've got Houston on a short list to host it.

Houston has hosted two Super Bowls, a World Series, a college basketball Final Four, and professional All-Star games. But the Summer X Games, a multi-day, four-sport event that's televised on ESPN, could be big.

"I'm feeling pretty good. I think we have a great shot at it. We have wonderful facilities and we do sporting events right in our city, so I feel really confident. It's a $50 million economic impact to our city so it's huge," said Janis Schmees with the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority.

Skateboard enthusiast Barry Blumenthal helped raise the money to build the skate park.

"You don't have to be an expert in the sport to appreciate speed and aerials," Blumenthal said.

He's a lifetime skateboarder and thinks the X Games would do well to pick the Bayou City, which already has the infrastructure downtown and at Reliant Park.

"It would be great for the city of Houston, generate a lot of revenue for the city. It'd be great for our image, and just be a lot of fun," Blumenthal said.

The city estimates it would make three times the investment each of the three years. And for skaters, it's a no-brainer.

"Houston has a lot of culture and there's a lot of skateboarders here. And I think skateboarders would appreciate the X Games coming," skateboarder Brandon Simonton said.

"That'd be wonderful. That'd be so great. Everybody would just love it," skateboarder Valiant Sowle said.

The X Games team did not want to comment Thursday but we know there are two other Texas cities in the hunt for the games. Both Austin and Fort Worth are among the finalists.

The bids are due in April. An announcement is expected in August.

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