ESPN’s ‘X-Games’ expands globally

Japan, Brazil added to competition sites

NEW YORK — ESPN is expanding its “X-Games” franchise, an annual extreme sports competition held in the U.S. and Thailand, into a year-round, internationally based event.

The “X Games Global Challenge” will start in 2002, run every two years and include more than 10 installments filmed on five continents. New competition sites are Japan, Brazil, Spain and Australia.

“The worldwide appeal of the ‘X Games’ has grown dramatically in just six years,” ESPN prexy George Bodenheimer said. “This major step illustrates the global interest and international influence on the action sports landscape and signifies ESPN’s commitment to continued growth at both the grass-roots and competitive levels.”

Competitors — who will be drawn from “X Games” qualifying events being held through February — will be grouped into seven different regionally determined, two-person teams.

ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Intl. will air the six qualifiers in addition to the games themselves and related “Junior X Games” and the “Asian X Tour.”

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