New Venture to Televise Top Dressage, Jumping & Polo from Florida’s Winter Circuit
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WELLINGTON, Florida, Jan. 6–A new venture to televise in prime time and high definition extensive and timely coverage of premier dressage, jumping and polo from South Florida during the biggest winter circuit in the world was announced Wednesday.
WHDT World Sports based in West Palm Beach, Florida, will televise featured Grand Prix jumping, dressage and hunter events from the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival, the Sunday match of the week from International Polo Club Palm Beach and highlights of Wellington Classic Dressage, Gold Coast Dressage Association and the Palm Beach Dressage Derby.
Between 2,000 and 2,500 horses from almost 30 countries compete each week in dressage, jumping and polo in Palm Beach from January through April.
The first event televised was the featured opening polo match in the Iglehart Cup tournament from International Polo Club Palm Beach. The event was televised over the air TV, by cable and satellite throughout South Florida and Boston at 8 p.m. US ET on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
Television broadcasting of jumping, hunters and dressage at WEF, the world’s largest and longest running horse show, will begin when the 12-week circuit launches Jan. 13.
WHDT World Sports, the first station in the United States to broadcast in high definition, will televise featured equestrian events beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights each week.
The ambitious television broadcast schedule is a joint venture of the Günter Marksteiner-owned WHDT TV based in West Palm Beach that broadcasts throughout South Florida and Boston and media entrepreneur and show horse owner Kenneth J. Braddick. Discussions are underway for distribution throughout the United States.
Multi-year agreements have been concluded with Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC that owns and operates the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, the home of WEF, International Polo Club Palm Beach and the organizers of the major dressage competitions.
Each night’s telecast includes a pre-event program of news, interviews and information, a half-time show and post game wrapup hosted by Ken Braddick, a lifelong journalist and media entrepreneur.
“WHDT’s commitment of resources and air time to televise equestrian sports in high definition in a timely manner is very substantial,” Marksteiner said. “Our goal is to bring to the largest possible audience, both equestrian and non-equestrian, the excitement, thrills, beauty and elegance of horse sports.”
“The commitment by WHDT and the organizers of world class dressage, jumping and polo to enable WHDT World Sports to offer horse sports to such a large audience in prime time demonstrates their support for efforts to grow equestrian activities,” Braddick said. “We plan to produce programming of the high quality that the best horse sports deserve and that audiences will appreciate.”
WHDT serves more than five million people in more than one million households in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach/Ft. Pierce and Boston designated markets.
The first event broadcast was the featured polo match between EFG Bank of the United States and Zacara of England that was played Sunday at IPC Palm Beach, part of the Iglehart tournament kicking off the winter polo circuit that runs through the U.S. Open Polo Championship on April 18.
The WEF schedule includes jumping Grand Prix with top horses and riders from around the world, including the 2008 U.S. Olympic gold and Canada’s silver medal teams, competing for $5.5 million in prize money. Several top European teams are scheduled to join the large contingent from throughout the Americas in the major competitions. A highlight of WEF is the Exquis World Dressage Masters bringing World Cup champion Steffen Peters and Ravel and other leading combinations from the Europe and North America to compete for $150,000 in prize money.
In addition to the Exquis World Dressage Masters, dressage events to be covered include the three remaining World Cup CDI qualifying events in the North American League, all scheduled for South Florida.