Next year’s X Games schedule announced
Next year’s Winter X Games will be held Jan. 29-Feb. 1, 2005, ESPN announced Wednesday.
“Once again we will go from Saturday through Tuesday, similar to what we did this past year, with a Friday date that’s still open to the public,” Melissa Gullotti, of ESPN, said Wednesday.
David Perry, vice president of the Aspen Skiing Co., said the scheduling of the event, which will fall on virtually the same dates as last year, is perfect.
“As big as Winter X Games is, it’s still second to NFL football,” he said. “So the scheduling has to fit into the cracks between the NFL playoff dates – the AFC and NFC championship games, and the Super Bowl.”
Perry said the NFL has considered altering the dates of the playoffs to boost ratings, but no changes were made to this upcoming season’s schedule.
“We had to wait for confirmation until the NFL schedule had settled down,” he said. “This is when we hoped [the X Games] would be. This is the perfect time.”
Perry added that other events were also waiting for X Games to release an official schedule.
“No one dares to schedule their event over the X Games now,” he said. “It will hurt their own event and compete with a giant.”
Total spectator numbers at Winter X Games 2004 were up 36 percent from 2003, jumping from 48,800 to 66,500, Perry said. Furthermore, television viewers of the X Games on ESPN increased by 30 percent over 2003, largely due to the nighttime programming and live broadcasts of the 2004 games, he added.
“This will anchor the winter season perfectly,” Perry said. “This is the beacon around which the entire winter season gathers, and I don’t just mean for Aspen/Snowmass, but the winter sports world is sort of also revolving around the X Games dates.”
Gullotti said the relationship between ESPN and the Skico couldn’t be stronger. The event is scheduled to return to Buttermilk through 2007.
“There’s a tremendous partnership between ESPN, the Aspen Skiing Co. and the city of Aspen,” she said. “It’s an ideal home for us – world class venues, the lodging and social options for the fans and the athletes – it’s a perfect fit.
“We’re very excited to come back.”
Steve Benson’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org