The X Games’ success in Minneapolis for three summers had been building toward a memorable finale this year, but the competition was officially canceled Friday due to coronavirus concerns.
The Summer X Games were scheduled for July 17-19 at U.S. Bank Stadium after drawing more than 100,000 fans per year to Minneapolis. But X Games officials cited the safety of the athletes, staff and spectators during the global pandemic.
“We thank the great city of Minneapolis, our organizing partners, athletes and fans for supporting X Games Minneapolis,” X Games vice president and general manager Tim Reed said in a statement Friday. “During three successful years, the city and facilities proved to be great hosts and provided a world-class stage for the best action sports athletes to create truly memorable moments in X Games history.”
The X Games joins the NCAA Wrestling Championships and the World Cup cross-country skiing race from March as major sporting events Minneapolis has lost during the pandemic.
The last X Games event came in March in Norway. The following week, the ongoing COVID-19 situation escalated to negate plans for the event in Shanghai for May 30-31.
Up until a few weeks ago, Summer X Games organizers hoped to just postpone the event at U.S. Bank Stadium. New course designs were being proposed that would’ve added a local flavor, like the Vikings ship and docks on the lake designs in past years.
The last scheduled X Games in Minneapolis was expected to be special event, but the realization came recently that it wouldn’t be possible with the virus crisis. Several different options were explored.
“I am bummed to hear that X Games Minneapolis is canceled this year,” said skateboarder Nicole Hause, who is from Stillwater. “But I understand that the health of the athletes and staff are at the utmost importance.”
In 2017, the Summer X Games made its debut in Minneapolis and drew 110,000 fans. The following year, the attendance grew to 119,000, which led to the announcement that the X Games would be extended at U.S. Bank Stadium for 2019 and this year.
Currently, the X Games are figuring out plans for their next host city, which will be announced at a later date. But the three-year run in Minneapolis won’t be forgotten.
“I always look forward to coming home and skating in front of my hometown, at one of the biggest events of the year,” Hause added. “For now, I hope everyone stays healthy and happy. We’ll be in action soon.”
Matt Meunier, sales director for Sports Minneapolis, said to go beyond the initial two-year agreement for the X Games was a “real coup” for the city.
“It’s unfortunate to see it come to an end,” he said. “But the positive note is we did get one more year out of it. That is a good takeaway. We’ve developed such a good relationship that we would love to welcome them back.”