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ESPN takes X Games to Europe

Canal Plus takes French rights

BRUSSELS — Europe will get its first winter X Games under a deal inked between rights owner ESPN and Gallic paybox Canal Plus.

Run Stateside for more than a decade, the summer and winter X Games are a big draw for extreme sports enthusiasts and tap a youthful demographic for broadcasters.

The European event, running March 10-12, 2010, will feature eight competitions, for men and women, including freestyle ski and snowboard in pipes and on slopes. Snowmobile demonstrations are also promised.

Tignes, a resort in the Northern French Alps, will double for Aspen.

Canal Plus plans to mix TV, Internet and mobile coverage of the games, hoping to tap audiences still keen after February’s winter Olympics in Vancouver.

It will have broadcast rights for France and French-speaking territories in the Caribbean and Africa. ESPN will handle all other distribution.

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