So later THIS year, 2010, WEG will be held for the first time in the United States. Despite the perky assurances that this will be the best WEG ever, the event is not being promoted as it would be in Europe, and is definitely under-sponsored.
This makes me sad, because this is a really big horse sport moment.
Oh sure, no matter how bad the hotels, the transportation, the under-sponsorship, the riders and horses will be fine. The level of competition will probably once again be memorable.
But when it is over, I fear it will just...be over.
Because there is so little attempt to use it as a platform to grow and educate an audience.
Just yesterday, January 1st, one of the great televised spectacles took place--the Tournament of the Roses Parade--a fixture on TV sets everywhere.
Lots of floats, lots of commentators looking for human-interest stories, lots of equestrian groups.
Lots of coverage, lots of repeats, lots of TV time--all day on one local major station. HUGE audience, HUGE crowd of spectators.
No mention of WEG.
Not one microphone under anyone's face. Not one commentator handed even a piece of paper to say a few words.
No. mention. of. WEG.
The President of the Touranment of Roses Association, and the man who should have been at the head of the parade, was Gary DiSano.
He passed away recently, and this years' parade and bowl game were dedicated to him.
His family were there to represent him-- wife Sabina with their two daughters and son.
Sabina is A DRESSAGE RIDER. She put on the Carl Hester clinics we had out here, has had Bettina Drummond to do clinics, not to mention a host of more local celebrity trainers.
Sabina and her family are (and this is not just my opinion) so photogenic that when they go out, people assume they are celebrities.
No one thought to ask Sabina to say a few words about WEG?
No one thought to take this global platform, TV fixture parade/the crowds/the coverage/the president of the event's representatives--who are horse people--no one thought to make use of this?
To maybe attract some sponsorship, let alone widespread interest?
Heaven knows, when it comes to PR, the US hands down wrote the book. In the horse sport world however, Europe so far outstrips us that they are in a different race altogether.
And this is just one more incredible possibility mis-managed.
I mean--they've only had the last 11 months or so to think about how to make use of this event to promote WEG.
I guess that's just too short a timeline.
OTOH, in England, they already have umpteen projects and events lined up to promote the EQUESTRIAN part of 2012 Olympics. Funds to develop more ways for city people to interact with and care about horses, to educate and build a growing audience.
Hopefully, someone would try to get similiar plugs during the Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby or a spot on the Today show after the Winter Olympics are over. Hope someone has the instincts to get aggressive.
In order for this to become a community event, they have to get the community involved.
It amazes me the amount of digging it actually takes to find out what even your local horsey community is doing *sigh*
I hear ya
WEG was a disaster waiting to happen from the day they gave it to KHP. But Oakie, dunno which station you watched but Bob Eubanks mentioned WEG three times. I totally agree about the DiSanos; got totally verklempt when I saw the tears wiped away, and then the missing man formation just did me in (missing man always does, but knowing it was for Gary was just such a moving tribute).
Um ... um ... um ... something about how a group HAD been at WEG before and it was coming up, another group was the official whatever at upcoming WEG, and separately that WEG was coming. I love Bob, his comments are genuine and almost always factually correct. And PS, apparently Aunt Esther nearly dropped dead at the sight of some of the, ah, Equestrian Fashion Challenged in the parade. Et tu?
Glad to hear that Coreene- I have not been able to see hardly anything- missed all the parade coverage and don't know what was said.
But- I can certainly agree with Oakie- that if advertising is needed this is the place to address it- since it has for over 100 years rung in the New Year and presented great floats, great bands and great equestrian units.
Advertising an equestrian event or organization makes nothing but sense......
"the man mite be the head but the woman is the neck and the neck can turn the head any way she wants..." -smart greek woman
Schatzi, they spoke of the surprise at the end during the entire parade, then came the jets and they said it was for Gary just as the one jet flew straight up to do the missing man formation. KTLA had the perfect shot of it. Not a dry eye in the house. Betwen watching you wipe a tear, and then the organ donor float close on the heels, oh my. And then the Jack float, and then the buldogs - hysterical. But the jets? Priceless. Gary's parade was the best parade ever. And all the equestrian groups were FABULOUS.