You’ve heard all the claims of Detroit as the land of opportunity. You could, for example, wake up one day and decide you want to bring the
here. Which is pretty much what happened with Kevin Krease and his friends Ian Studders and Garret Koehler.
After hearing that ESPN’s X Games (which includes events like skateboarding, snowboarding, BMX, and Motocross) were expanding internationally, the three friends thought, "Wouldn’t it be cool to bring this to Detroit in the next round of expansions?" They had absolutely no event production experience, much less for an event of this scale. They started doing research. They started reaching out to people. They got connected to big local names like Phil Cooley (Ponyride
), Jason Huvaere (President of Paxahau
), and Susan Sherer
(Executive Director of the Detroit Super Bowl XL Host Committee). Then they began approaching major stakeholders like Dan Gilbert, whose "Opportunity Detroit
" campaign is epitomized in this grassroots effort.
Detroit has successfully hosted several major sporting events including the Super Bowl, the All-Star Game, and the Final Four. But those are all traveling events, a one-time influx of cash and bodies that are gone as quickly as they came. The X Games would be a three-year commitment.
"(Detroit is the) perfect marriage of what ESPN wants for the X Games," says Kevin Krease, Project Director of X Games Detroit
. "What Detroit has here is this amazing grit and passion, that whole energy of the action sports scene." Detroit is a destination city for skaters all over the country. There are no competing events, plenty of major host venues already committed to it (including Ford Field, Hart Plaza, and Belle Isle), and a huge opportunity to further re-brand the city. Also, Ford is the largest global sponsor of the X Games. It just makes sense to bring it home.
ESPN representatives have already paid Detroit a visit and left with a positive impression, according to Krease. The formal bid is due April 2; the city selection will be announced Aug. 1.
Source: Kevin Krease, Project Director of X Games Detroit
Writer: Nicole Rupersburg
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