“There are some lessons from the Europeans,” said Andrew Finding of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF). “And we will make sure they are learnt.”
Mr Finding confirmed low spectator numbers would be discussed at a meeting between stakeholders of the Alltech FEI European Jumping and Dressage Championships at Windsor (25-30 August).
Organisers came under fire after audiences — predicted at around 60,000 — fell some 24,000 short. Only on Saturday night, for the dressage to music, were stands full.
“Maybe it was assumed that top sport would bring high-level audiences,” said Mr Finding.
The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) will also review the event, to “help organisers of future championships”.
Organiser Simon Brooks-Ward said: “Had show jumping mirrored the support we had for the dressage classes there would be no question over the success of the championships. I was bitterly disappointed and I think it’s a wider issue.”
He added: “We accept partial culpability but we had much more publicity in Europe than here. The marketing budget for the Euros was the same as for Olympia — over £100,000 — and it was all spent.”
UK Sport provided nearly £950,000 in funding.
UK Sport’s senior events consultant Simon Morton said: “We would love every event we support to be a sell-out, but we have to be realistic that in these current economic times this is unlikely to happen.”
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (10 September, ’09)