Budget of 2014 World Games Over 80% Covered, Organizers Focus on “Affordable” for All

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CAEN, France, Sept. 27–The World Equestrian Games has commitments covering 82 per cent of its budget, organizers announced Thursday, two years ahead of the staging of the world championships in Normandy in 2014.

A major focus is being placed on “affordable” hotel and ticket prices “leaving no one outsde of the Games,” said Fabien Grobon, managing director of the Organizing Committee that issued news releases and held international briefings Thursday on the status of the WEG scheduled for Aug. 24 to Sept. 7, 2014.

“We want everyone to think about the Games, that they can go and it is not a money problem,” he said of WEG that has been held once every four years since the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) launched the inaugural event in 1990 as the world championships of dressage, driving, eventing, endurance, jumping, reining and vaulting plus para-equestrian.

“We could probably sell at a more expensive price but what we want to do is when someone thinks about the Games we do not want them to think, ‘I cannot go because it is too expensive for me, for my kids, for my family.’ We want everyone… a full stadium… like in London” at the Olympics.

Dressage team Grand Prix is scheduled over two days, Aug. 25-26, Grand Prix Special on Aug. 27 and the Grand Prix Freestyle Aug. 29 after a rest day. Reining will be Aug. 25-30; endurance Aug. 28; eventing Aug. 28-31; jumping Sept. 1-7; vaulting Sept. 2-5, and driving Sept. 4-7. Para-equestrian is scheduled for Aug. 25-30.

The organizing committee estimates 500,000 visitors, about the same number as the 2006 WEG in Aachen, Germany, and in Lexington, Kentucky in 2010.

Prices for hotels will range from €70 to €400 (US$90-$515 at current exchange rates) with the average below €150 (US$190).

Ticket prices will be €5 to €90 (US$6.40-$115) with the average price €25 (US$32).

Ticketing details are still being worked out. A complaint in Kentucky was that tickets swere offered for individual sessions so, for example, dressage Nations Cup Grand Prix with morning and afternoon sessions over two days required purchase of two tickets per day to see the full day’s performances.

More than 4,500 hotel rooms have already been reserved by organizers for riders, officials, media, sponsors and others, but that acounts for only about 20 per cent of the accommodation capacity in the region so, Fabien said, “there is no stress about rooms.”

A series of test events will be held next summer with the dressage and jumping tests scheduled for June, 2014.

Alltech, one of the world’s top 10 animal health and nutrition companies and based in Lexington, is the title sponsor of Normandy WEG as it was for the 2010 Games.

Rolex has been joined as an official sponsor by PMU, a $10 billion company that is one of the world’s largest legal betting operators and a major sponsor of other sports incuding soccer and cycling’s Tour de France.

Equidia Life in television and Ouest-France, a major newspaper, have signed on as media partners. Equidia will televise all competitions and provide extensive background and behind-the-scenes coverage.

Commitments to cover 82 per cent of the budget of €67.5 million (US$87 million) does not include ticket sales, hospitality and other sources of revenue that have yet to be launched.

“We are not in competition with previous editions of the Games,” Fabien said. “I think what is key is to see that there is momentum in equestrian sport and working closely with the FEI to build this property of the World Equestran Games so it’s important to see that many partners want to invest with us to build the sport.

“It’s not a race with other World Equestrian Games, but we think it’s important to show that the property of the Word Equestrian Games is growing following the success of Aachen and Lexington, and building support for equestrian sport that we saw in London. I think it’s good for the Games and good for the equine industry as a whole.”

Up to 3,000 volunteers with many able to speak English will be recruited early in 2013.