ESPN to drop International X Games competitions, cut jobs


* Cancels games in cities including Barcelona, Munich

* U.S. games in Aspen, Austin, to continue

By Liana B. Baker

Oct 3 (Reuters) - ESPN said on Thursday it will end theinternational versions of its X Games extreme sportscompetitions because it could not make money on the events,which feature skateboarding and other sports.

The sports cable network owned by Walt Disney Co will be cutting an unspecified number of jobs related to theInternational X Games, which took place in cities includingBarcelona, Munich, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil and Tignes, France. TheInternational X Games had been broadcast on ESPN's flagship and its sister network, ESPN 2.

ESPN owns the X Games and had announced the internationalexpansion in 2011. It had organized the events for one year andhad two years left on its contract.

The U.S. X Games, which take place in Austin, Texas, in thesummer and Aspen, Colorado, in winter, will continue. ESPN started the competition in the summer of 1995 in Rhode Island.

"We are proud to have run world-class competitions for boththe athletes and spectators; however, the overall economics ofthese events do not provide a sustainable future path," an ESPNspokeswoman said in a statement.

"The company remains fully committed to the X Games brandand its full-scale competitions in Aspen, Colorado and Austin,Texas."

ESPN added it did not see a "sustainable path for economicsof these events."

Regarding the related job cuts, ESPN said: "Changes of thisnature require difficult decisions, including the elimination ofsome roles. Under the two-event model ESPN will require asmaller workforce to stage and support the events."

ESPN said a company-wide memo on the move was sent out onThursday.

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