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“Stadium Motocross” for X Games Feeds the Pipe

In case you were wondering whether motorcycling’s explosion in popularity would slow down any time soon, take note of the announcement today that the X Games this fall will feature motocross for the first time. In a joint development between Ricky Carmichael and ESPN, “Stadium Motocross” or “MotoX Racing” will debut in front of the millions of young fans of the X Games watching on television, and in person at the Home Depot Center here in Southern California.

Although the X Games has featured freestyle events, and supermoto, this motocross event (which Ricky Carmichael plans to race in) could cement the younger generation’s fascination with motorcycling in general. Take a look at the X Games press release below.

LOS ANGELES – For the 13th annual action sports event, ESPN X Games will add stadium motocross. Debuting at The Home Depot Center, Moto X Racing will showcase the premier motocross racers in the world competing in an event collaboratively developed by Ricky Carmichael and ESPN. Joining Ricky will be fellow motocross stars Chad Reed, Kevin Windham and more top racers from all over the world. For X Games 13, Moto X Racing will join the other Moto X disciplines Freestyle, Step Up, Best Trick and SuperMoto. Fourteen hours of live programming on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will be offered August 2-5 as well as X Games 13 coverage on ESPN International, EXPN.com, ESPN Classic, ESPN360.com, SportsCenter and ESPN2’s X Center.

“The X Games reflect the direction in which the leading action sports athletes are taking their sports. We are looking to spotlight as well as advance their progression,” said Ron Semiao, senior vice president, ESPN Original Entertainment. “Working with Ricky to develop a new style of motocross racing is an honor for us and will certainly appeal to our collective fans and viewers while also advancing the X Games’ leadership position.”

Known as the “G.O.A.T.”(Greatest of All Time) by the motocross industry, Ricky Carmichael will be making his X Games debut. Carmichael holds the records for most AMA National wins, most AMA National Championships, and he is currently undefeated in outdoor National Championships 10 seasons into his professional career. From 2001 through September, 2006, Carmichael made 131 consecutive AMA Motocross podium appearances.

“Motocross is the original extreme sport and is a perfect fit for the X Games,” Carmichael said about the addition. “I am so excited to be part of the first motocross event at the X Games and will offer all my support and knowledge to make this event a huge success. As far as this being my last motocross race, my hope is that this event is such a success that I will be asked back next year. My future focus will be on NASCAR and now, the X Games.”

Moto X Racing will deviate from traditional motocross by reducing the number of competitors per heat and the number of laps per race. The end result will be more races and more action. The event will run as follows: In Round 1, the 16 invited racers will be seeded into 4 heats of 4. The winner of each heat moves directly to the Final. The 3 racers from each heat that did not qualify will race in Round 2. In Round 2, the 12 racers not yet qualified will race in 2 heats of 6. The winner of each heat goes to the Final to complete the bracket of 6. In the Final, the first racer to cross the finish line wins Gold. The number of laps per heat will be determined once the final track design is complete. For Moto X Racing, the invited racers will have their choice of motorcycle engine size — 450cc or 250cc.

In addition to the recent announcement of Women’s Surfing and BMX Big Air being added to X Games 13, the premier action sports event in the world features athletes from across the globe competing for medals and prize money in the following sports: BMX Freestyle, Moto X, Skateboard, Surfing and Rally Car Racing. X Games 13 will be telecast live on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC. Last year, more than 138,000 fans attended the competition at The Home Depot Center and STAPLES Center, an increase of nearly 13 percent over X Games 11 in 2005 while another 35.6 million fans tuned in on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.

Details on sports schedules, venues and athletes will be forthcoming and available on EXPN.com.

ESPN, ABC AND ESPN INTERNATIONAL TO TELEVISE EVENT LIVE Last year, 35.6 million people tuned into X Games 12 and on-line fans flocked to X Games video, with more than three million views of videos on ESPN Motion, ESPN.com’s integrated video platform, and ESPN360. In addition, EXPN.com X Games 12 drove a 104 percent increase in total page views and a 61 percent increase in total visits over X Games 11, making it the most-trafficked X Games ever. X Games 12 was also ESPN’s highest-rated X Games ever among young men in the 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 age groups. Overall, X Games 12 averaged a 0.9 rating on ESPN, equal to X Games 11 and X Games 10, with a five percent increase in average overall households (816,640). On ABC, ratings were up among young men in key 12-17 and 18-34 age groups (30 percent and four percent, respectively, vs. X Games 11). Portions of the X Games were also televised on ESPN International to more than 78 countries and territories in the Pacific Rim, Middle East, Africa, Orbit and Israel.

Tickets for X Games 13 will be available for purchase June 14 at all Ticketmaster locations and the box offices at STAPLES Center and The Home Depot Center.