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New Vikings stadium to host X Games in 2017, '18

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Minneapolis reflected in the glass.
Minneapolis reflected in the glass of U.S. Bank Stadium, the new home of the Vikings, in Minneapolis July 18, 2016.
Courtney Perry for MPR News

Updated: 3:06 p.m. | Posted: 11:14 a.m.

ESPN's X Games will be held in Minneapolis in 2017 and 2018, with many of the events being held in the Minnesota Vikings' glittering new stadium, the network announced Wednesday.

"We're definitely pumped," X Games vice president Tim Reed said. He cited the "young, vibrant aspect" of Minneapolis and the support of the city and state for the bid. He called the new, $1.1 billion stadium that opens this summer "a beautiful building."

Reed also cited the new U.S. Bank Stadium's huge video boards and the common areas that can stage musical acts. Metallica and blink-182 have performed at previous X Games.

While it'll be another year before the games officially start in Minneapolis, the show got underway Wednesday as motocross riders took to the plaza in front of the stadium.

X Games competitions include skateboarding, BMX and motocross. A flat track for motocross will have to be built elsewhere in Minneapolis, and the games are working with the city to identify a location, Reed said.

It's the first time the X Games have been held in the Upper Midwest since the games began in 1995. The event has been held in Austin, Texas, for the past three years.

Last year, the X Games drew over 100,000 fans and brought in $74 million for Austin, Reed said. Some 250 athletes compete in the four-day event, with an average age of 26 or younger, he said. Athletes are invited to compete in the games.

"These are the best of the best," Reed said. "These guys train year round. They work at their skill."

Minneapolis was vying with Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, Portland and Nassau, New York to host the games. 

Minnesota Sports Facilities Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said the new U.S. Bank Stadium's transparent roof and giant doors were key selling points to win the games.

"It gives them the safety of the weather if they need it. If it were to rain, they would still be able to broadcast their show," she said. "But, if the weather is good, those doors are open, and with the clear roof, they feel like they're outside. So this is why we built the building the way we did, is to bring these kinds of events to Minneapolis."

The X Games Minneapolis will be held July 13-16, 2017, and July 19-22, 2018.