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Nassau Coliseum bids to host X Games extreme sport competition

Mitchell DeJong competes in RallyCross Lites during Summer

Mitchell DeJong competes in RallyCross Lites during Summer X Games 20 at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, June 7, 2014. Credit: Red Bull / Garth Milan

The X Games, a popular extreme sports competition, could be coming to Nassau Coliseum next year.

Nassau Events Center, which is spending $260.5 million to redevelop the arena and build an adjacent entertainment complex, has bid to host ESPN’s summer X Games in 2017 and 2018, said Ryan McGuinness, ESPN’s director of development and marketing for the event.

The Coliseum, which is scheduled to reopen in March after 18 months of renovations, is competing against Minneapolis; Fort Lauderdale; Providence, Rhode Island; and four other cities that have asked not to be identified, McGuinness said.

“It’s absolutely appealing to go to a new facility,” said McGuinness, adding that the X Games have never been held in New York. “We love new toys.”

The four-day extreme sports and music festival is televised nationally and features skateboarding, dirt bike racing, freestyle motocross and vert events, in which competitors perform tricks on a ramp.

If selected, the interior of the Coliseum would host the dirt track and motocross races while skateboarding and vert skateboarding events would be held in the arena’s parking lot and potentially at nearby Eisenhower Park, McGuinness said.

ESPN, McGuinness said, picks their host city based on venue capacity, availability, population size and regional demographics, as the event typically targets a younger audience.

The renovated Coliseum will be able to hold between 13,000 and 14,500 people, NEC officials said.

“One of our goals is to bring the biggest and best events to the Coliseum and to Long Island,” said Keith Sheldon, head of NEC programming. “And with a 77-acre footprint, we think the Coliseum is a perfect fit for action sports.”

ESPN officials have made several initial visits to the Coliseum to scout the facility. A decision is expected by mid-July.

The summer X Games are being held for the third straight year in Austin, Texas. They began Thursday and end Sunday.

One study found that the X Games generated $74 million in annual revenue for Austin and more than $100 million for the state.

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