LAKE TAHOE - Lake Tahoe could become the new host of the Winter X Games.ESPN, which owns the X Games franchise, announced qualified host sites on Thursday, and Lake Tahoe was listed among the eligible destinations for 2015-17. Finalists will be determined by April 2013 and host cities will be announced by the end of 2013. The X Games bid is sponsored by the Lake Tahoe Sports Organizing Committee, a new entity created to bring marquee events to the area and generate overnight stays while promoting Lake Tahoe to a global audience. Committee partners include the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, North Lake Tahoe Chamber/Convention & Visitors Bureau/Resort Association, Heavenly Mountain Resort and Squaw Valley, among others. "Hosting an event of this caliber would provide significant economic impact for the destination," said Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority. "The demographics of the X Games align perfectly with attractions and appeal of Lake Tahoe and its combination of outdoor recreation, spectacular natural beauty and 24-hour lifestyle." According to ESPN, past X Games winter events have yielded substantial results for host cities. Aspen estimates that the X Games generates up to $10 million in identifiable benefits. The event, historically held in January or February, has attracted 20,000 to 25,000 spectators per day. The broadcast distribution alone for the X Games Aspen 2012 reached 232 million homes in 192 countries and territories. "The X Games is a unique opportunity to showcase winter sports in Lake Tahoe to a targeted domestic and international audience," said Andy Chapman, chief marketing officer of the North Lake Tahoe Chamber/Convention & Visitors Bureau/Resort Association. "It's a fantastic chance to tell the world about our phenomenal snow conditions, prestigious training grounds and the many and varied resorts that make up Lake Tahoe."The inaugural event was in 1995 and includes extreme sports (hence the name) ranging from Snowboarder-X (Boarder Cross), Slopestyle, Superpipe, Big Air/Best Trick, Snocross and Freestyle Snowmobiling. Competitions would be conducted at Squaw Valley and Heavenly."We are proud to be associated with Vail Resorts and Heavenly along with our regional partners to work to bring the X Games to Lake Tahoe," said President and CEO Andy Wirth of Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. "This is truly a partnership of high impact players from the region with a great deal of experience planning and staging world-class events. Over the last few decades, we've watched the X Games evolve. At its founding, the X Games revolutionized the landscape of winter sports and it continues to evolve and remain the single most impactful, admired and esteemed winter events, period. We sincerely hope to be a part of it the X Games' incredible evolution."
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