On the lavish fourth floor of the Jockey Club Suites, two days prior to the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs, representatives of the World Games 2010 Foundation announced NBC as the official network broadcast partner for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, which will be held at the Kentucky Horse Park near Lexington Sept. 25-Oct. 10, 2010.
“This announcement comes from a wonderful relationship we’ve been able to enjoy with NBC,” said John Long, CEO of the United States Equestrian Foundation. “It really has to do with the growth of the horse sport. We’ve talked about Kentucky being the center of the universe of the horse world, and I think that with the Derby, and with the World Equestrian Games in 2010, we’ll be able to really back up that commitment.”
The WEG will be the largest equestrian event ever held in the United States, and will be America’s largest spectator sporting event in 2010. More than 800 athletes and 900 horses from more than 60 countries will compete for eight world championships in equestrian sport.
The WEG, which have never before been held outside Europe, is expected to have a statewide economic impact of $150 million. It is anticipated that more than 600,000 spectators will attend during the competition.
NBC’s six-hour televised coverage across the 16 days of the 2010 WEG represents the largest major network broadcast of equestrian sport in U.S. television history. The WEG will be the second largest event in North America in 2010 to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
The three days of coverage will be on the three Sundays of the event: one hour on opening Sunday, Sept. 26; three hours continuously Oct. 3; and two hours Oct. 10, which will include the closing ceremonies.
“I think the idea of putting three hours on the heels of the final round of the Ryder Cup in Wales makes for a great weekend, a great promotional opportunity to expose the sport to millions of existing fans, as well as a lot of new fans,” said Jon Miller, senior vice president of NBC.
“Today is like hitting the exacta for me, because I’m a representative of NBC and a Lexingtonian,” added NBC sportscaster Tom Hammond.
NBC’s programming will include coverage of the world championships in each of the eight equestrian disciplines of the Games, as well as coverage of opening and closing ceremonies. Additionally, NBC Sports holds the digital rights for the event, making it available on multiple platforms, including mobile and live streaming on NBC Sports.com.
“It’s great to have a partner like NBC from a television broadcast standpoint, but even more importantly as we emerge into the new world of technology and delivery of the variety of media,” said Jack Kelly, CEO of the World Equestrian Games Foundation. “We can’t quite tell where we’ll be two years from now, but with a partner like NBC, we’ll figure out that opportunity a lot better than we would with other partners.”