Austin took our first crack at hosting the XGames a weekend ago and by all accounts seemed to be a successful event. Things mostly went off without a hitch, but my guess is both the crowd and event coordinators learned a few things that will help make next year even better. For myself, it was entertaining and I’m glad I experienced it. A few observations:
The human powered events – at least for me – were more entertaining that the machine powered ones. Getting a bird’s eye view of someone launching themselves off an impossibly tall ramp on a bicycle or skateboard is impressive. It’s one of those events that you can’t tell whether the athletes are brilliant or crazy – most likely a bit of both.
Austin can be hot in June….and windy. The heat took a toll on both fans and participants. Race cars hovering under shady bridges waiting for their start and fans finding creative ways to stay cool. The wind was a welcome reprieve, but played spoiler to a couple of aerial events that had to be modified, and in one case cancelled entirely.
There’s a lot to do beyond the events. A true family affair with something for everyone. From kids riding mini skate parks to fans getting to meet their heroes – there were lots of ways to feel engaged with the events and feel like you are peeking behind the scenes. XGames also did a great job of sprinkling in Austin feel with local musicians and food trucks.
I believe the initial contract is for 3 years. There were a few small missteps along the way, but given the crowd and athlete response – this may be the first year of another long-standing Austin tradition. Welcome to town!