The X Games won't be returning to Austin in 2017. ESPN told FOX 7 on Tuesday they are leaving their contract one year early and instead searching for another host.
X Games first came to the Capitol city in 2014. Now this June is your last chance to see the event locally. From the crowds to the athletes, the X Games has been pretty action-packed here in Austin.
"I've seen more girls riding and more kids. They seem to enjoy it a lot," says Courtney Lake, former BMX competitor.
Courtney Lake is disappointing this will be the last year for the event. She started BMX racing when she was ten years old and now rides for fun.
"It gives everybody a chance to meet other riders from other countries, you know, learn new tricks. It kind of brought the BMX and the skate community together. Everyone is going to the same place, going to the same thing, to meet the same people that they look up to," says Lake.
An ESPN spokesperson reached out to FOX 7 by phone on Tuesday. They say their main reason for leaving Austin is to try and get the X Games summer event back into late-July or early August.
Scheduling the event during less crowded sports programming windows better enables the company to utilize resources to promote X Games. In turn, that means more viewership. Keaton Smith agrees with their decision.
"The thing about it is, a couple years ago, skating was the thing to do. It was a huge fad. Everyone was just throwing money at it because it was so popular. Anything that surrounded that, all the action sports like surfing, snowboarding, biking, they all got a little piece of it. Now all of that is going down. So you're seeing a lot of companies go out of business," says Keaton Smith, BMX rider.
Some come to the X Games hoping to get exposure. Guru Khalsa is a former pro skater who many Austinites look up to. His advice is to instead ride for yourself.
"Do it because you really want to do it. Challenge yourself and keep progressing. Don't stress too hard because that shows, it translates into it. I can tell how aggressive the person is skating and I can guarantee that in the skate industry the people that are skating with a certain attitude, they won't be able to make it because of that. You can tell by the style," says Guru Khalsa, former pro skater.
The final X Games event in Austin will take place at Circuit of the Americas from June 2-5, 2016. Tickets will be available beginning March 24.
ESPN says they are still in the preliminary process of selecting a new host city.