Plans for increased TV coverage of show jumping and polo are under way in the wake of good viewing figures for Olympia 2002, efforts by the BSJA and major research into the development of polo.
British Eurosport is expected to more than triple its hours of Olympia coverage this year and spokesman Tristan Lewinsohn says: “As well as around 19 hours of broadcast, we’ll be having two big-name presenters.
“We showed six hours last year and got great figures, which is partly why we’re putting such a major commitment into reviving popular interest in the event.”
BBC coverage is being finalised. However, this year, viewing figures for satellite and cable channels overtook BBC1 and ITV for the first time, although fewer than half of all households have non-terrestrial channels.
Next year, a series of programmes on Sky covering at least 10 British shows is expected to be broadcast. Extra funds are still needed, but the BSJA’s Jacky Knightley is in no doubt that the programmes will go ahead.
“If we have 10 this year, it could be 15 the year after. We’re very excited about it,” she says.
Meanwhile a year’s research and £25,000 funding from the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) has resulted in a plan for polo’s first all-professional league, designed for TV coverage. The new tournament, the British Polo Championship, is to be played at various major clubs on seven consecutive weekends.