Press got a chance to day to tour US Bank Stadium to see how preparations for ESPN’s X Games are coming along. It also gave us a chance to get to the know some of the team members making X Games happening.
After the successful debut in Minneapolis last year, X Games returns this week starting Thursday. They also committed to 2 more years at US Bank Stadium through 2020. Everyone has heard of X Games, but it’s not always clear just how big a deal they have become. The 19 hours of live television will reach 500 million homes in over 20 countries. Well over 200 athletes from all over the world are competing. There is a staff of over 1,000 (not counting US Bank Stadium staff) working hard to make the games happen. Heck, there are 25 team members assigned to make sure one of us clueless press photographers doesn’t wander on the track and gets crushed by a Dirt Bike.
We also got a chance to tour the competition floor and talk to Rich Biggie, the X Games Director or Events and Logistics. His job? Turn a flat football field into 2 skate parks, a bunch of ramps and to top it all off turn all that dirt into a race track for a first on Sunday – the Harley Davidson Flat Track Racing (it was at the MOA last year). Biggie seems to represent the team that runs the show well. He got his start 19 years ago in “logistics” – translation: he got to roll stuff off and on trucks. The VP in charge (Tim Reed)? He begged to be assigned to X Games after starting at ESPN and spent his first X Games sweeping skating ramps.
To call the competition floor impressive would be an understatement. Standing at the bottom looking up at the bike ramp that’s tall enough to reach the upper level seats (and comes with an elevator) makes you wonder about the sanity of the riders…….
The competition floor is almost done. Next come the camera and tech guys to place 60+ cameras, 5 robotic cameras and over 100,000 feet of cable on top of what’s already at US Bank Stadium.
Competition starts on Thursday 7/19 outdoors on the Metronic Plaza with the Pacifico Vert Skateboard and BMX events. Those are free to the public so check them out. Another cool fact is that single day tickets are all General Admission and only $ 20. Or you can splurge and get a 3 day pass for $ 50. So if you have a favorite event you get get there early to snag a good seat. Or heck, you can make a game out of sitting in every single seat in US Bank Stadium.