UPDATE: An update from ESPN has been added to the original story.
Bad news for extreme sports fans: X Games will not be returning to Austin after 2016. In a brief statement on Tuesday, ESPN announced it is looking for a new host city for 2017-2018.
The news of its departure from Austin comes as a surprise, as ESPN agreed to a four-year run (through 2017) at Circuit of The Americas.
Initial speculation of the departure centered around financial concerns with COTA. However, a spokesperson with ESPN told CultureMap that the reason for the exit was due to timing. Historically, the X Games have been held in July, when it did not have to compete with other major sporting event broadcasts — X Games Austin has been scheduled in June for three years now. As COTA is unable to host X Games in a July timeframe (who wants to be outside in Austin during July, anyway?), COTA and ESPN mutually agreed that 2016 would be the last year of X Games Austin.
"We've been honored to call Austin home of the X Games since 2014," said X Games Vice President Tim Reed in the statement. "We thank COTA, the City of Austin, and State of Texas for their support and look forward to an amazing final X Games Austin."
There's no news yet on who will take the reins from Austin, but previous finalists included Chicago; Detroit; and Charlotte, North Carolina.
X Games Austin will take over COTA one last time June 2 through 5. Tickets go on sale Thursday, March 24.