Ticket sales lower than expected for World Equestrian Games

Mike Cooper
Mike Cooper
Dr. Pearse Lyons
Dr. Pearse Lyons
Nancy McConnell
Nancy McConnell
Monica Hagerman
Monica Hagerman

Louisville, KY - By Marisela Burgos - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - In 29 days, for the first time ever, the World Equestrian Games will be held in the United States instead of Europe. The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games kick off September 25 and run through October 10 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.

Mike Cooper, Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism commissioner, said 315,000 tickets have been sold in total, about 50,000 purchased in Kentucky. Organizers expected to sell 600,000 tickets. While Cooper questions whether they will reach their goal, they are confident people will buy last minute tickets.

"We're going to hear more radio ads. You're going to see us on TV doing everything we can to sell as many tickets," Cooper said.

Cooper said ticket sales are picking up.

"We are doing anything that we can with the limited funding that we have, but like I said earlier, the trend {is} people are waiting until the last minute."

General Admission is $25 and kids under the age of 12 can get in free. If you plan to see any of the eight disciplines of the Games, including dressage, endurance, eventing, jumping, and reining, there is an additional cost.

But organizers said if people do not want to see the Games, there is plenty for them to do with a general admission ticket.

"We've got so many other things from penguins and petting sharks, the kid zone, the Kentucky Experience, {and} the Alltech Village. If you never wanted to see a horse, don't worry there's something for you," said Dr. Pearse Lyons, president and founder of Alltech.

Lyons said the additional items are new to the Games.

"Our message for people in Louisville is this - this is not a Lexington event. It's not a Louisville. It's not a Kentucky event. It's an American event. And it's our opportunity to showcase this state. We need Louisville over there," said Lyons.

According to Lyons, between 500,000 to 600,000 people went to watch the 2006 Games in Germany. It is an audience they were hoping to see here.

Lyons said he does not regret having the games in Kentucky.

"I made the decision to spend $10 million in 10 minutes," said Lyons. "If I was asked to do it again, knowing what I know now, then I would have taken 10 seconds."

Nancy McConnell, who grew up training horses and teaching riding, said she would miss the World Equestrian Games.

"It would be a shame to miss it," McConnell said. "I think as it gets closer, many more Kentuckians will step up and actually purchase tickets."

But Monica Hagerman who is a fan of Saddlebreds plans to attend a local competition instead of going to the Games.

"I haven't chosen to go because there's not a competition for the Saddlebreds at that show," said Hagerman. "They'll be Saddlebreds exhibited."

Hagerman said she may change her mind and purchase a ticket, closer to the start of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

"I'm not going to say that if, when it comes right down to it that we might not just decide to go one day just to experience {it}.

That is exactly what Cooper is hoping many other Kentuckians will do.

"I encourage all Kentuckians {to go}. I mean, this is a once in a lifetime experience," he said.

For more information on the World Equestrian Games, just click on the highlighted link.

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