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SimpsoMatt
Sep. 2, 2010, 09:22 AM
Eventually they're going to run out of positive spin for this boondoggle

http://www.kentucky.com/2010/09/02/1416860/weg-cuts-budget-alltech-steps.html


Organizers of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games have cut as much as $500,000 from their budget, Games CEO Jamie Link confirmed Wednesday.

The cuts come as WEG organizers contend with lower-than-expected ticket sales and the bills related to erecting 300 temporary buildings at the Kentucky Horse Park.

Equibrit
Sep. 2, 2010, 10:33 AM
Amazing that the title sponsor has to pitch in and take over, to save their reputation.

mares tails
Sep. 2, 2010, 10:41 AM
Oh My! A $500k cut from a $76,000,000 budget!
My calculator puts that at less than 1%.

How does that spell 'boondoggle'?

MelantheLLC
Sep. 2, 2010, 07:01 PM
Mr. Pearse Lyons is certainly a hero, and I hope Alltech does well by it.

I personally appreciate what he's doing, because I'm going and I want it to be as wonderful as it can be. I'm totally appalled at the hotel prices but the event itself seems reasonable enough in pricing terms.

I just wish I could afford to stay in a hotel long enough to see the driving, which is right at the end, natch. It would be a whole extra week and I can't do that. :(

asterix
Sep. 2, 2010, 08:06 PM
Hotel prices are dropping, a bit, both inside and outside "the system" -- worth calling, and doublechecking, some places...

SmplySweet1021
Sep. 2, 2010, 10:54 PM
As someone that lives in Lexington, WEG itself doesn't bother me along with the prices...it is the price gouging at the Hotels that disgusts me. I'm happy to hear they are finally dropping some, but how many customers did the hotels lose because people couldn't afford to come to WEG. It is ridiculous. I understand making some money but enough is enough!

Mardi
Sep. 3, 2010, 01:23 AM
.... but how many customers did the hotels lose because people couldn't afford to come to WEG.

Count me as 1.
And I had a free dressage ticket !!

SmplySweet1021
Sep. 3, 2010, 09:43 AM
Count me as 1.
And I had a free dressage ticket !!

It is absolutely ridiculous! I'm sorry you aren't able to come!

cadriver
Sep. 3, 2010, 12:08 PM
My hotel just dropped its price I changed a room I had at 209 a night down to 134 a night. And I'm still checking constantly. And for a savings of 70 a night for 5 nights that is a lot of money, now maybe I can afford to eat:)
Diane

SimpsoMatt
Sep. 3, 2010, 12:17 PM
Mr. Pearse Lyons is certainly a hero, and I hope Alltech does well by it.


Pearse Lyons is a hero, and not just because of the $32 million he's spending on WEG. It's a little off-topic, but anybody interested in what else the title sponsor spends his money on might be interested in his recent contributions to Haiti

http://www.kentucky.com/2010/08/15/1392602/alltech-hopes-to-help-haiti-by.html

http://www.kentucky.com/2010/06/13/1303780/eblen.html

M. O'Connor
Sep. 3, 2010, 02:05 PM
As someone that lives in Lexington, WEG itself doesn't bother me along with the prices...it is the price gouging at the Hotels that disgusts me. I'm happy to hear they are finally dropping some, but how many customers did the hotels lose because people couldn't afford to come to WEG. It is ridiculous. I understand making some money but enough is enough!

How many potential spectators were so dimayed at the overall expense of the trip because of hotel prices that they never bothered to order tickets? One aspect affects the other. Overall, I think WEG and the hospitality community were

Jersey Fresh
Sep. 3, 2010, 02:38 PM
[QUOTE=SimpsoMatt;5073272]Pearse Lyons is a hero, and not just because of the $32 million he's spending on WEG. It's a little off-topic, but anybody interested in what else the title sponsor spends his money on might be interested in his recent contributions to Haiti

http://www.kentucky.com/2010/08/15/1392602/alltech-hopes-to-help-haiti-by.html

http://www.kentucky.com/2010/06/13/1303780/eblen.html[/QUOTE

These programs are wonderful. He has also done a lot to push local KY products and pride (ex. Alltech Angus is locally grown beef). The company has also supported hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students in the science across the US and around the world.

snoopy
Sep. 3, 2010, 03:23 PM
As someone that lives in Lexington, WEG itself doesn't bother me along with the prices...it is the price gouging at the Hotels that disgusts me. I'm happy to hear they are finally dropping some, but how many customers did the hotels lose because people couldn't afford to come to WEG. It is ridiculous. I understand making some money but enough is enough!


The problem for me really isn't about WEG in particular...yes steep for ticket prices, but when you add in all the extras...particularly the greedy hotel prices then the sum of all of these is beyond what most can afford. It is the ripple effect and because of of it EVERYONE loses. Sad really.

2ndyrgal
Sep. 3, 2010, 05:48 PM
The positive spin is, it's in Kentucky USA.
The other positive is apparently, I'll be able to park really close.

Really, at this point, why are you all still whining? Don't like the prices, don't pay them. Supply and demand, just like every other business. If I have a limited amount of something that I can charge a premium for, I'll do it. I don't care if it's "fair" or "nice" or equitable. What matters to me when I price an item for my business is, how much did I pay for it, how many do I have, and what can I get someone to pay for it. Not, how many people will be upset or not buy it because I'm going to maximize my profit.

There are probably people who are upset that Steinway pianos are so expensive.

Stienway doesn't care.

snoopy
Sep. 3, 2010, 05:59 PM
The positive spin is, it's in Kentucky USA.
The other positive is apparently, I'll be able to park really close.

Really, at this point, why are you all still whining? Don't like the prices, don't pay them. Supply and demand, just like every other business. If I have a limited amount of something that I can charge a premium for, I'll do it. I don't care if it's "fair" or "nice" or equitable. What matters to me when I price an item for my business is, how much did I pay for it, how many do I have, and what can I get someone to pay for it. Not, how many people will be upset or not buy it because I'm going to maximize my profit.

There are probably people who are upset that Steinway pianos are so expensive.

Stienway doesn't care.



Good business poeple work on the priciple that it should be a win/win for both parties.


The most important thing in business is not to make a profit, but rather to provide a service that people are "willing" to pay that profit.


Price gouging is BAD BUSINESS and is a false economy. Someone suffers and in this case every business that has anything to so with WEG

2ndyrgal
Sep. 3, 2010, 06:30 PM
I can assure that the most important thing in business is to make a profit. If, as hard as I work, my business does not generate a profit, then I'm going to quit and go to work for someone else. Anyone that owns a business will tell you that it must make a profit. The Catholic Church doesn't close churches because they are old or no one goes, they close them when the price to keep them open falls less than the offerings (profit) they receive. Even non profit organizations close because they don't make enough money to keep the doors open. So business, and even those set up to be "non profit" must actually make a profit to keep the doors open. Do some big corporations make insane profits? Well sure, and yet, we all keep buying their stuff, so they have no incentive to make their products any less expensive.
As to people willing to pay for things that are over priced, my $30 Kmart watch keeps the same time as my $3000 Cyma. My jewelry store does not carry $30 watches, and yet, they have been in business for over 50 years. The owners are very very successful. It isn't always about appealing to everyone. The spread in a mass-produced, inexpensive item can be small (spread being the difference between what the unit costs me and what I can sell it for) if I pay a penny and buy a million of them and sell them for 2 cents, I marked my item up 100% and made a million dollars. Now, I have one item. It cost me a million dollars. Should I sell it for my same 100% markup and make the same million, or go on your theory and sell it for 1,000,000.01? There are apparently quite a few people willing to pay not only the big bucks for the hotels and tickets, but big bucks for hospitality tickets as well.

Mardi
Sep. 3, 2010, 06:34 PM
Really, at this point, why are you all still whining?


From what I've read during the past months, it's not whining, it's a disappointment. This event had such a tremendous build up from the day
the KHP was awarded the WEG. So many people, in the US and abroad, were looking forward to it and seeing the best of equestrian sports. People were excited and enthusiastic.

It's not the ticket prices that have most people upset (to use your analogy - the cost of a Steinway), it was the hotel prices that were deliberately raised way beyond the normal rack rate.

To use my analogy, the trucking company will be happy to deliver your Steinway, but since it's a Steinway, the price for delivery just tripled.

SmplySweet1021
Sep. 3, 2010, 07:30 PM
I'm not whining or disappointed in any way......I live in Lexington & have an amazing volunteer opportunity with WEG.

I said it was ridiculous for hotels to charge so much which in turn made it harder for people to come for WEG. Many people are not coming because of the hotel costs. Now I understand there is a demand for hotel rooms but hotels in the area saw WEG as jackpot to get a LOT more than they normally would for a room. In any economy if the demand exceeds the supply a business can charge more as they are supplying. Yet what businesses have done is gone above the point where people believe it is reasonable to pay for the supply, and have either gone to other hotels or are not coming at all......then the demand drops...thus hotels must drop their prices in order to get business, hence what is happening now.

I think the prices of WEG are reasonable compared to any other large sporting event. Might be more of a shock than the equine world is used to.

dwblover
Sep. 3, 2010, 09:13 PM
Of course businesses want to make a profit, but when you charge so much that you turn a multitude of potential clients away, well that's just not good business sense at all. I mean seriously, some hotels are (or were) charging FOUR times their normal rate. I could potentially deal with twice the normal rate, but four times? No thanks, that's why I'm not going.

And I also was very irritated with the ticket prices. Splitting the day into two sessions? Well, let's not only make the prices more expensive, but confusing as well. I've never been to an event in my life where I would pay an admission fee to enter and then have to leave halfway through the event unless I purchased another ticket. Ridiculous!!!:o

vineyridge
Sep. 3, 2010, 10:53 PM
Lexington hosts Rolex and Keeneland sales and races. Those are elite events.

How much do the local hotels raise their rates for those? Heck, I stayed for a week at The Winner's Circle in Georgetown for the cost of two nights of WEG.

I rather think it was Short's that did the huge miscalculation.

Foxtrot's
Sep. 3, 2010, 11:32 PM
But for my friends coming in from Switzeland they are not put off by the costs at all - they are used to high prices.

LaurieB
Sep. 4, 2010, 10:47 AM
There are apparently quite a few people willing to pay not only the big bucks for the hotels and tickets, but big bucks for hospitality tickets as well.

You're right. There are quite a few. What there aren't is enough people willing to do so.

No matter how the PR department spins the story afterward, these games have no hope of making a profit. It's very unlikely they'll break even.

If WEG was a business, they'd be out of business very quickly.

snoopy
Sep. 4, 2010, 10:50 AM
I can assure that the most important thing in business is to make a profit. If, as hard as I work, my business does not generate a profit, then I'm going to quit and go to work for someone else. Anyone that owns a business will tell you that it must make a profit. The Catholic Church doesn't close churches because they are old or no one goes, they close them when the price to keep them open falls less than the offerings (profit) they receive. Even non profit organizations close because they don't make enough money to keep the doors open. So business, and even those set up to be "non profit" must actually make a profit to keep the doors open. Do some big corporations make insane profits? Well sure, and yet, we all keep buying their stuff, so they have no incentive to make their products any less expensive.
As to people willing to pay for things that are over priced, my $30 Kmart watch keeps the same time as my $3000 Cyma. My jewelry store does not carry $30 watches, and yet, they have been in business for over 50 years. The owners are very very successful. It isn't always about appealing to everyone. The spread in a mass-produced, inexpensive item can be small (spread being the difference between what the unit costs me and what I can sell it for) if I pay a penny and buy a million of them and sell them for 2 cents, I marked my item up 100% and made a million dollars. Now, I have one item. It cost me a million dollars. Should I sell it for my same 100% markup and make the same million, or go on your theory and sell it for 1,000,000.01? There are apparently quite a few people willing to pay not only the big bucks for the hotels and tickets, but big bucks for hospitality tickets as well.



You obviously did not read/understand my post. I will not go into details of my business degree/my business/my finances. This is not a pissing match. I fear from the rather padantic reply I received, that to respond to your post in great detail, would end up being just that. Actually it reads like something from "intro to business 101"

We quite clearly come from two different models when it come to business. Yours, I would not subscribe too.

2ndyrgal
Sep. 4, 2010, 01:30 PM
Based on your post I felt some "Business 101" was in order.

Based on the amount of infrastructure it took just to get the Games into the US, it wasn't going to break even, even if they sold every single ticket.

When the local pro football team convinced the city it needed a new bazillion dollar stadium, I don't think that anyone expected the cost to be absorbed in the first game, or even the first year.


The Kentucky Horse Park is subsidized by the Commonwealth. I'm fairly sure it operates in the red on a yearly basis.

No one, anywhere, from any organization ever said it would break even.

If someone can run a business where profit isn't at the top of the priority list, and "everyone wins", stay in business and make enough to take care of everyone and stay sane, then well, my hats off to them. Not sure what business you're in Snoopy, and frankly, I send out reams of w-2 forms every year to people with advanced degrees in business and finance that simply have no idea how the real business world actually works.

It wasn't ever going to break even or be anywhere close. The Commonwealth, the organizers and the sponsors all knew that going in.


The last report I got was that the mega bucks, overcharging, price gouging hotels are at 80% capacity. If the markup was really 400%, they can wait out the remaining rooms, and still mark them up and fill them.

They will likely make a profit. And I don't blame them.
For the event anyway, the rest of the year, and the last two, have really stunk if you own a hotel.

It's why they scrapped plans early on for a hotel at the KHP. It would never, ever turn a profit based on real numbers.

snoopy
Sep. 4, 2010, 02:09 PM
You still do not understand my post. I did not say profit was not important...providing a service the public are WILLING TO PAY A PROFIT FOR for is my goal.


See I can easily afford tho go to WEG, pay the infalted ticket prices, the ridiculous amounts of money for a shitty motel 6 etc etc. But I AM NOT WILLING to pay for it because it is not worth it to me. I am part of the demographic they are targeting. They lost out on my buisiness...no they lost out on my MONEY. There are others with the means to go, but are not willing to because profit at all costs is simple BAD BUSINESS. Where is the win/win? Business owners want profit, repeat business, and a return on their investment....customers want value for money and customer service. I do not feel as a customer of WEG (having been to three of them) that this WEG has either. This also makes me think twice about using the business of the title sponsor and those motel/hotels who offered nothing different during WEG then you would get at any other time of year and at stupid prices.
Clearly your business 101 model..that most have subscribed to..is not working.

His Greyness
Sep. 4, 2010, 02:10 PM
Based on your post I felt some "Business 101" was in order........

No one, anywhere, from any organization ever said it would break even.



So, in your version of "Business 101", who is supposed to make up the difference between what the WEG 2010 organizers take in and what it costs to put on the games?

SmplySweet1021
Sep. 4, 2010, 02:26 PM
And I also was very irritated with the ticket prices. Splitting the day into two sessions? Well, let's not only make the prices more expensive, but confusing as well. I've never been to an event in my life where I would pay an admission fee to enter and then have to leave halfway through the event unless I purchased another ticket. Ridiculous!!!:o

That is how the horse shows in Europe are run. They are run like "Shows," so lights, music that type of stuff. You purchase a ticket for the classes you want to see, i.e. Morning, Afternoon, Evening, or entire day. It makes sense.

In the US most shows are free to go watch. I think thats why most people are shocked with prices.

Ellie K
Sep. 4, 2010, 02:40 PM
Based on the amount of infrastructure it took just to get the Games into the US, it wasn't going to break even, even if they sold every single ticket.

When the local pro football team convinced the city it needed a new bazillion dollar stadium, I don't think that anyone expected the cost to be absorbed in the first game, or even the first year.um, the infrastructure is not part of the WEG budget, lol. That was paid for by the state supplemented with private KHP donations, and is not any part of the WEG OC's financial obligations. And all that permanent infrastructure investment was not essential to the bid to start with. The first bid didn't include all of that, and the only reason they lost was because of Aachen's hissy fit and the launch of the super league at the same time. No one in the FEI wanted to give it to Aachen, lol.


No one, anywhere, from any organization ever said it would break even.except the organising committee, whose stated goal from the get-go was to be the first WEG to turn a profit. It's even in their "mission statement":

Mission Statement: The non-profit World Equestrian Games 2010 Foundation, Inc. on behalf of the Kentucky Horse Park and the United States Equestrian Federation will produce the 2010 Games at the highest competitive level so that they will be artistically, technically and commercially successful in order to elevate horse sport in America, showcase the Commonwealth of Kentucky and provide for the Kentucky Horse Park to become the greatest equestrian venue on earth. http://www.centralequine.com/article.aspx?id=183

http://m.courier-journal.com/news.jsp?key=615717&rc=lo

If the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games hold exactly to budget, the event at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington will show a profit of $52, according to Jamie Link, head of the local organizing committee for the games, which represent world championships in eight horse sports.

But Link, chief executive of the World Games 2010 Foundation, told Kentucky legislators recently that the $76million event is based on a very conservative budget, and based on commitments so far - six months from the games' 16-day run Sept. 25-Oct. 10 - he is confident it will turn a much larger profit, which can be used to create a lasting legacy for the horse park.And just last week, Dr Lyons:
http://www.wkyt.com/lexington/headlines/102102004.html

Lyons says he guarantees the Kentucky WEG will make money.

Equibrit
Sep. 4, 2010, 04:07 PM
Some of you have a very strange view of profit.
Profit is calculated as follows;

+ Revenue
- Cost of sales
- Operating expenses
- Taxes
= (+/-)Profit

If you overspend on COS and operating expenses then you have to charge a ton to boost your revenue! You can bet that everything needed to run this event has been supplied at premium prices. This is a one time event and as such, there is no opportunity to spread the costs over further events. It's no big surprise that tickets are expensive. I'm sure some creative accounting will take place on the part of the Games and it's sponsors in order to benefit their respective balance sheets. Just imagine the figures if volunteers were not available !

SmplySweet1021
Sep. 4, 2010, 04:47 PM
Some of you have a very strange view of profit.
Profit is calculated as follows;

+ Revenue
- Cost of sales
- Operating expenses
- Taxes
= (+/-)Profit

If you overspend on COS and operating expenses then you have to charge a ton to boost your revenue! You can bet that everything needed to run this event has been supplied at premium prices. This is a one time event and as such, there is no opportunity to spread the costs over further events. It's no big surprise that tickets are expensive. I'm sure some creative accounting will take place on the part of the Games and it's sponsors in order to benefit their respective balance sheets. Just imagine the figures if volunteers were not available !

I know all the supplies they are using such as radios, tv's, chairs, etc. will all be sold after the games in order to replace some of that expense. They are having a big sale post games.

SmplySweet1021
Sep. 4, 2010, 04:50 PM
But for my friends coming in from Switzeland they are not put off by the costs at all - they are used to high prices.

Also Europeans are used to the expenses of going to a large show such as this.

I went to Jumping Amsterdam, Indoor Brabant, and CHIO Nations Cup in Rotterdam this past year; the Grand Prix costed about 50 euros.

MelantheLLC
Sep. 4, 2010, 06:40 PM
And I also was very irritated with the ticket prices. Splitting the day into two sessions? Well, let's not only make the prices more expensive, but confusing as well. I've never been to an event in my life where I would pay an admission fee to enter and then have to leave halfway through the event unless I purchased another ticket. Ridiculous!!!:o

Not quite sure what you mean here, but this is from the WEG site:



Please note that your competition ticket gains you access to the Kentucky Horse Park. You do not need a Grounds Pass if you have purchased a ticket to a competition.

That's from the Ticketing Information (http://www.alltechfeigames.com/content.aspx?id=948&ekmensel=c580fa7b_8_16_948_1) page. But maybe you mean the different segments of the individual competitions, like Parts 1, 2 and 3? I kinda see your point but then again, if I only want to see the last half of a competition, with the top competitors, then why have an empty seat at the early part?

VanEq
Sep. 11, 2010, 03:17 PM
if I pay a penny and buy a million of them and sell them for 2 cents, I marked my item up 100% and made a million dollars.

Technically, you didn't make a million dollars. You made a million pennies... which is only $10,000.

(Petty, I know, lol, but I couldn't resist :winkgrin: )

Across Sicily
Sep. 12, 2010, 02:29 AM
Can't resist chiming in a little here...

Ticket price for the actual event? I don't really care if they're expensive. I would happily pay the actual ticket price... but that's not all one must pay. If a one-person entry into a showjumping final or preliminary or XC day or whatever were $150, I'd pay that. I'd really have no problem with it.

But... along with that, unless you live in the area, comes the cost of flying/driving in (+600, easily, for those of us who have to cross borders; hopefully a bit less for those actually within the US already, at least as far as flights go), hotel fees (while I *could* afford to pay $200-300-400 for a Motel 6, the fact is that I really don't want to pay that much for shitty accommodations for an entire week) and transportation (shuttles, rental car, whatever). You add up a week of WEG for the average person and suddenly you're looking at something like $3000+ (and I'm being kind with that number) when it's all said and done. This provided you're not sharing accommodations or other travel expenses. It's just ridiculous.

While there is a wealthy demographic within the horse world, frankly there are plenty who are NOT wealthy but who would have given their eyeteeth to go see WEG. Squeaking out spare cash for a $150 ticket or a $60 hotel room... probably do-able, if a bit of a splurge for some. $3000 for a week down at WEG, not so much.

I could afford to go, but it would be a significant expense. At that point it becomes a discussion of whether it's worth it or not. Sadly, it's not... which is a shame, because God only knows when this event will return to North America.

asterix
Sep. 13, 2010, 10:18 PM
It is definitely more affordable if you can drive and share costs; we are driving down as a foursome from dc so travel costs are minimal.

If you are willing to play chicken with the hotels, you can find deals. I've already changed our reservations once to our advantage and you can get reasonable rooms if you are willing to drive or compromise on quality. Try calling or using an online search service.

vineyridge
Sep. 14, 2010, 12:00 AM
Here's what's odd to me.

They are claiming that GROUNDS PASSES are sold out for some days. Why in the world would they put any limits on grounds passes? It's not like the venues can't take unlimited numbers of people shopping, going to exhibitions, and wandering around. You'd think they would be willing to take all the money they could get from grounds passes.

Of course, they might be puffing and counting the ones available through Kroger stores just to make things look less dire.

mares tails
Sep. 14, 2010, 09:11 AM
Here's what's odd to me.

They are claiming that GROUNDS PASSES are sold out for some days. Why in the world would they put any limits on grounds passes? It's not like the venues can't take unlimited numbers of people...

Two words: Par King :lol:

"There are 11,000 parking spaces in and around the Kentucky Horse Park."
http://www.alltechfeigames.com/content.aspx?id=4944

.

vineyridge
Sep. 14, 2010, 09:54 AM
That's where the decision to cancel the shuttles will be counterproductive.

SimpsoMatt
Sep. 14, 2010, 10:24 AM
Interesting comment from Lyons on Alltech's sponsorship of WEG 2014


Lyons confirmed that Alltech will be the title sponsor for the 2014 World Games in Normandy, France. The deal hasn't been signed yet, but it is scheduled to be announced officially Oct. 4.

Lyons said he would pay the same $10 million title sponsorship as he did this time around, but "this time we'll go in more prepared," he said.


I wonder if "more prepared" means "more aware that $10 million will turn into $32 million", or "more careful that $10 million doesn't turn into $32 million".

dogontired
Sep. 18, 2010, 08:33 PM
..it is the price gouging at the Hotels that disgusts me. I'm happy to hear they are finally dropping some, but how many customers did the hotels lose because people couldn't afford to come to WEG. It is ridiculous. I understand making some money but enough is enough!

1. WEG failed to come through in building two (count that, 2) hotels on the Horse Park grounds for competitors and their entourages.

2. The hotels that lose people becuase they can't afford to come to WEG are not the only parties impacted. WEG lost these same people too.

3. "I understand making some money but enough is enough". Were you talking about the hotels or the WEG management team?

SmplySweet1021
Sep. 18, 2010, 09:38 PM
1. WEG failed to come through in building two (count that, 2) hotels on the Horse Park grounds for competitors and their entourages.

2. The hotels that lose people becuase they can't afford to come to WEG are not the only parties impacted. WEG lost these same people too.

3. "I understand making some money but enough is enough". Were you talking about the hotels or the WEG management team?

They didn't fail to come through the decision was made to not build them as they would only be used during horse shows. Who other than people competing wants to be out at the HP during the off season....there isn't much around the HP :)

dogontired
Sep. 18, 2010, 10:26 PM
My point is that when WEG started marketing this event, competitors and their entourage were told they would have plenty of reasonably priced housing available to them, and then last year suddenly all of those folks were left on their own to scramble and find rooms. Non-competitors who bought their tix 2 years ago had already flooded the hotel/motel market in Lexington and booked up rooms with a 12-month head-start. Simple economics mean that market demand supported the extraordinarily high hotel prices, especially close to the Park.

These same hotels/motels jack up prices for Rolex and require nonrefundable prepayment, not a surprise that they are doing it for WEG. Same reason that locals rent out their houses during the Olympics and leave town for the duration of the event.

Failing to provide affordable housing for competitors and their entourage (and I am not including us out-of-town volunteers in this category) in my book is completely inexcusable. Probably 90% of these folks are AMATEURS who are spending to compete at this event out of their own pockets. Agree with you completely on your observation that it's ridiculous and 'enough is enough'. It's a real shame.