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  1. #1
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    I posted this question on the "Do you think Andrew Philbrick read this board" thread on the H/J forum, but I'm so interested in it, I'm giving it a separate thread over here on Off Course to get more responses. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    Do you think that the sport will lose significant corporate sponsorship if the structure of presenting our international teams changes, meaning, if the Fed remains the NGB and for some reason the USET decides to curtail or end its activities?

    (One thing to be clear on is that even if it not made the NGB, nothing prevents the USET from continuing to raise money and fund and field teams. It would not have ultimate responsibility for doing so, a responsibility and right which belongs to the NGB, but every qualified amateur sports org has the right to raise money and sponsor fund and field competitors.)

    My personal feeling is that I doubt very much if our sports corporate sponsors care whether the org to which they are donating their money is the Fed or the USET, so long as they get the marketing recognition they are seeking. Corporations are oriented to the bottom line, and if the structure changes, my guess is the money will flip over to the new structure.

    One reason I feel this way is what happened at the AHSA Annual Meeting in the International Forum. Dr. Leone said that one of the reasons the USET could not agree to merge with the AHSA was because it would lose sponsorship. However, when I asked whether any corporate sponsors had given any indication that they would withdraw or limit sponsorhip if the USET and AHSA merged, Dr. Leone said no, none of them had done so. (He did say that certain unnamed private contributors had made that threat.)

    I can certianly understand the concern of the USET that the Fed's new marketing and fundraising efforts might impact the USET's ability to raise funds. A very substantial portion of what the USET lists as assets on its books are in fact only pledges of future donations, and the USET could be in serious trouble if a signficant amount of those pledged funds do not materialize. However, from what the gentleman from Helikon said at the recent board meeting, there are a lot of untapped sponsorship resources out there, and the Fed's efforts are going after those sources. They want to increase the size of the pie, not slice the same pie up smaller.
    "I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry



  2. #2
    Portia is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    I posted this question on the "Do you think Andrew Philbrick read this board" thread on the H/J forum, but I'm so interested in it, I'm giving it a separate thread over here on Off Course to get more responses. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]

    Do you think that the sport will lose significant corporate sponsorship if the structure of presenting our international teams changes, meaning, if the Fed remains the NGB and for some reason the USET decides to curtail or end its activities?

    (One thing to be clear on is that even if it not made the NGB, nothing prevents the USET from continuing to raise money and fund and field teams. It would not have ultimate responsibility for doing so, a responsibility and right which belongs to the NGB, but every qualified amateur sports org has the right to raise money and sponsor fund and field competitors.)

    My personal feeling is that I doubt very much if our sports corporate sponsors care whether the org to which they are donating their money is the Fed or the USET, so long as they get the marketing recognition they are seeking. Corporations are oriented to the bottom line, and if the structure changes, my guess is the money will flip over to the new structure.

    One reason I feel this way is what happened at the AHSA Annual Meeting in the International Forum. Dr. Leone said that one of the reasons the USET could not agree to merge with the AHSA was because it would lose sponsorship. However, when I asked whether any corporate sponsors had given any indication that they would withdraw or limit sponsorhip if the USET and AHSA merged, Dr. Leone said no, none of them had done so. (He did say that certain unnamed private contributors had made that threat.)

    I can certianly understand the concern of the USET that the Fed's new marketing and fundraising efforts might impact the USET's ability to raise funds. A very substantial portion of what the USET lists as assets on its books are in fact only pledges of future donations, and the USET could be in serious trouble if a signficant amount of those pledged funds do not materialize. However, from what the gentleman from Helikon said at the recent board meeting, there are a lot of untapped sponsorship resources out there, and the Fed's efforts are going after those sources. They want to increase the size of the pie, not slice the same pie up smaller.
    "I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry



  3. #3
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    boy - it's gonna gtake me a while to get used to this

    I read the title of the topic and was wondering what Alan Greenspan was up to
    Nothing says "I love you" like a tractor. (Clydejumper)

    The reports states, “Elizabeth reported that she accidently put down this pony, ........, at the show.”



  4. #4
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    Portia, didn't you or someone else once post that a VERY large portion of the USET income is from contributions made by its directors (or others intimately involved in the day-to-day running of the USET?). My guess is that should The Fed be named NGB, it is those people, who are most probably pro-USET for NGB, that will withdraw their support. IMHO, who needs 'em!! I'm tired of this whole d@mn ego-boosting fight and wish that EVERYONE on BOTH sides would drop their egos at the door and work something out for the betterment of the whole community. USET does and has done a fantastic job helping field our international teams and raising funds for such. But should The Fed be named NGB and those same people who started this mess in the first place (over egos and personality clashes) want to essentially "take their toys and go home"... let them.

    (the previously stated post is IMHO from an AHSA/Fed member with no hopes of ever making "A Team" who simply thinks we should get back to funding HORSE stuff and not political backbiting... YMMV)

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  5. #5
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    I have read a great deal of the proposals that have been forthcoming from the Federation and I think they will not lose "corporate" sponsors but will gain many new and broader ones.

    My sense is that is the reason for our dilemma. Those people with deep pockets who have been able to use their "donations" as both a tax sheltered charity and to buy influence and importance will probably move on. That is proably the reason for their beligerant perceptions of what is happening.

    However, for the first time in many years I feel most optimistic that the new Federation and it's structure will make the major changes that are necessary to attract the major national sponsors. While it is true that the Fed will need at least a year to prepare the packages necessary for them to be interested and it will take another year to get on their calendars for appropriation of funds I think that it will eventually happen.

    Most of the fund raising has been on a very individual basis i.e. someone who is CEO of a large company makes large donations while their particular favored horse and rider contenders are in contention. That will probably stop and there will be perhaps a dry period during the reorganization which will be more open and less political.

    My hope is that we are on the threshold of an era where we can sort out the very best riders on one hand and the very best horses on the other hand and then permit the coaches to put together the best possible winning combinations. That would recreate the real spirit of a TEAM instead of contending individuals.

    In my opinion that is the meaning and purpose of the Ted Stevens Athletic Act. As these changes come into play there will be many changes I think we will hate and many changes we will applaude. But, if we can make our American Equestrian Games into a "World Series" because it is broad based then it can work really well and we will join Skating and Golf as sports of general public interest that have gotten rid of the elitist image.

    I hope I will live long enough to see one of our champion riders on that good old Wheaties box. The Marketing and Development Committee has made great strides in a very short time to change the whole image of the Federation from an association of show managers to an association of horse people of all kinds.

    To me the joy of this sport has been it's ability to absorb people of kinds and all beliefs and allow them to excell regardless of personal conformation or distinction. Horses bring out the talents of the quiet and individual people who do not do well in contact sports but have the intuition and heart to become a pair with a horse.



  6. #6
    Portia is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Lucassb posted this on the other thread on the H/J board, and I think it contains very good information and insight, so I'm copying it here. (Hopefully that's OK with Lucassb!)

    Marketing and Development

    Marketing is what I do for a living, so I have any number of biases about the subject...but one thing I am quite certain of is that any organization made up of close to 80,000 individuals, with demographics of:
    85% female
    38 years of age
    52% married
    58% college graduate or higher
    $134,500 average household income
    $955,400 average net worth

    will have an audience which is attractive to a SUBSTANTIAL universe of potential advertisers.

    We could do a lot more to package our sport to these firms, and I think that we will do so more successfully in the near future. In this regard, it is my personal opinion that the diversity of the Fed will create a very different target audience than the one identified as desirable by the USET.

    In that sense, the USET should not be threatened by a loss of sponsorship if the Fed succeeds in developing enhanced sponsorship and advertising partnerships; ideally, they should feed off each other. Just as those who cite the penetration of showjumping into the general sports media awareness in Europe as an indication that it would be possible to pursue TV coverage on a wider scale here in the US, successful initiatives by any organization marketing the sport should be a boon to all others who aspire to do so.

    Frankly, one of the strengths the Fed has from a marketing standpoint is its large base of NON H/J members, who are perceived (correctly or not) to be less "elitist" and more representative of the general buying public to potential marketing targets. There are a lot of non-luxury goods manufacturers out there, and the pool of available prospects is much larger when you look beyond the traditional Rolex or Cadillac type organization that has typically been the mainstay of our target audience. Think about the success that rodeo has had in selling to its sponsors.

    OK, back off the soapbox now. At some point today I should probably go do some work, or soon I will be have to change my opening line to "marketing is what I USED to get paid for..."
    "I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry



  7. #7
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    This is probably the most important discussion for the future of the sport going on these boards.

    To me, it's really, really simple. If the existing USET donors are TRULY for the advancement of the sport, and not merely self-interested, they will support the international effort wherever it is done, and by whatever organization does it.

    I think that most of them probably are, but as Portia has said she heard with her own ears, a few apparently are not. Personally, I think those few individual donors will be immediately replaced by the MANY more who are or have been staying away from supporting the international effort as long as it has been controlled by so few, and has been perceived (whether rightly or not) as unfair, or conflicted, or controlled by too few insiders. We all know that there is very, very big wealth in this sport.

    Add to that the corporate sponsors that ought to be interested in moving the sport forward if it is really organized professionally, and marketed, and to me it's pretty simple. At last some organization is finally approaching this the right way. I just hope the Olympic Committee can cut through all of the smoke and see what is really happening here. If they can, it will be great. If they don't, then it will be a long time before anything moves forward with true progress, and not just the same interest groups in charge which seem to control so much of it now.



  8. #8
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    I seem to recall seeing a USET "budget" a while back, but I can't find it again. I know they pay for expenses for Olympic and World teams, and salaries of some sort for the coaches, but I was surprised, for example, that though the USET is naming/selecting event riders for the Burghley CCI**** and the Blenheim CCI***, they are not providing financial support, and individual riders have to come up with $15k to go. Given that there are no other major international Events this year (especially because of FMD), I'm surprised that they don't have travel grants available for these 10 or so riders.
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket



  9. #9
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    a line item detailed budget from both the "fed" and USET on their websites, not the pie graph, or the chart thing, but a real live honest to goodness budget. Having been a bean counter for 17 years (finally, it's coming in handy!), I love crunching numbers but I also know how to prepare a budget for federal, state and local contracts, which are detailed as all get out.

    I don't want to see a budget that merely says:
    Salaries: $100,000
    Fringe Benefits: $20,000
    Travel: $500,000
    Other: $1,000,000

    You know, I want details to back up the totals.....I send $$ to USET every 3 months, I would like to know how it is spent, or where it is deposited..............USET calls me every year asking me to up my annual contribution, sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, but when I do talk to them, the poor woman on the other end gets an earful of my opinions!!!!!! [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]



  10. #10
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    I think some of this more detailed "This is what we would use your money for" information might be very useful for fundraising, too. There are the "big picture" sponsors, who can be lured with advertising kinds of benefits, but there are also a lot of small 'hobbyist' type sponsors, those of us who could (and can and do) spare $20, $50, $100 or so to help a rider meet a specific goal. Currently, the American Horse Trials Foundation does some of this, helping a rider to fundraise this way and using their tax-deductable umbrella. The USET already sends out letters allegedly from Famous Riders, but I think that there might be differently effective campaigns for very specific, earmarked activities, like "hey, we'd like to send these 10 riders to Europe for this and that major competition" (Hmm, rather like those NPR pledge drives...) as opposed to "Hey, we're for equestrian excellence from the US - so send us some money."
    If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket



  11. #11
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    I've been thinking about a way we could adopt an athlete. My thought was to put our athletes closer to their fans and supporters.

    For example a 4H Club, or a Girl Scout Troop,or maybe even local associations and barns could pick an athlete to follow their successes and failures. To cheer them up when they don't do well, and the encourage them when it goes great. Each group could run fundraisers and the athlete could send signed T-Shirts and saddle pads to be raffled off at the fund raisers.

    I would love some ideas from all of you how this could work and if you think it would work as a way to bring us spectators closer to our role models.

    You see I think we need to find a way to bridge the abyss between the levels of riding and one thing sadly missing in our sport are the role models and the fan clubs.



  12. #12
    Portia is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    At least to my untrained-in-marketing mind. The USA Equestrian "Adopt-A-Rider/Driver" Campaign. Or even, "Adopt-A-Horse" for our favorite equine athletes.

    I'm guessing it is not possible/practicable for the money to actually go to the specific athlete or horse "adopted" -- any more then the money sent to Save the Children or similar organizations goes directly to the single child "adopted"-- but it would be a dynamic way to get people on both sides of the transaction -- donors/sponsors and riders/drivers -- to feel directly involved in the process. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif[/img]
    "I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry



  13. #13
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    Could it be that the USET and AHSA have a very comfortable old boys fundraising network and their instincts are not to rock the boat and to not really want to share?
    I'm sure they have a lifetime of "them" and "us" attitudes to dread adjusting to the "new" regime.



  14. #14
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    Of course, change scares everyone!

    However, please remember it is the USA Equestrian (formerly AHSA) this is now leading the way in seeking out new marketing incentives and working to increase the exposure to our sport at all levels.

    This will only help ALL of us!

    I watched the USET Reining Champs on TV yesterday - brought to the screen by the AQHA and its sponsors in its "America's Horse" program. We need that kind of exposure for more than simply Quarter Horses!


    [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]
    co-author of 101 Jumping Exercises & The Rider's Fitness Program; Soon to come: Dead Ringer - a tale of equine mystery and intrique! Former Moderator!



  15. #15
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    In Weatherford's post she mentioned the TV broadcast of the Reining at the Festival of Champions sponsored by and through the AQHA.I might add that Budweiser (certainly a mainstream corporation as opposed to Rolex,etc.) sponsors several GP, all (or most) of which are televised on ESPN. Several of the GP in Palm Beach are televised as well. I believe the above mentioned air time is mostly due to the efforts of Stadium Jumping. HITS has gone the same way with Outdoor Life Network. The point is all of this exposure has been accomplished through private organizations.

    I welcome the Fed joining in if the marketing gurus (of which I emphatically am not one) believe it will not spread the industry too thin.

    My gut feeling is that the Fed with it's involvement in 26 breeds and disciplines will find it difficult, at best, to determine where to distribute the newly found sponsorship. Who decides what breed or discipline will reap the benefits?

    Is it possible that the Fed's Marketing and Development Committee will, unknowingly, open Pandora's Box?



  16. #16
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    Good points Emmet. Lets hope that it won't happen. We don't need one more pandora's box to be opened. We have had too many recently.

    The breakdown of the demographics is very interesting. How many of you know or have friends who fall within these guide lines? Do they have, want or own horses?

    The AQHA has spent long,and expensive years bringing their breed to the forefront. The monies, prizes, trophies won at the World and the Congress mean alot! Interesting that the AQHA brought the USET Reining to TV. My question is why didn't the USET bring it? It's part of the Fed now, was at the Olympics.



  17. #17
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    Since I am a member of the Marketing and Development Committee I am going to rely on all of you to warn me about the pitfalls ahead. And, I invite all of you with Marketing Experience to share with me your expertise.

    I am looking forward to this new world that should open the doors for all our now unknown young talent. And, by now I trust you all know me well enough to know that I will be outspoken and honest in my opinions. So please feel free to email me and to discuss these items out here where we can find a consensus from minds that are not closed to what's new and dynamic and can make a difference.

    Together we can help the Federation with it's intense new direction. So let me personally appoint you all as an advisory sub-committee of my seat as a member.



  18. #18
    Portia is offline Schoolmaster Premium Member
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    Congratulations Snowbird! (Vikki!) I had no idea you were on the new Marketing Committee. Well, then, you're in a great position to make the Adopt-A-Rider/Driver and/or Adopt-A-Horse programs come to be. [img]/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif[/img]
    "I don't want to sound like a broken record here, but why is it that a woman will forgive homicidal behavior in a horse, yet be highly critical of a man for leaving the toilet seat up?" Dave Barry



  19. #19
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    >> I might add that Budweiser (certainly a mainstream corporation as opposed to Rolex,etc.) sponsors several GP, all (or most) of which are televised on ESPN <<

    Budweiser is the main corporate sponsor to the American GrandPrix Association (AGA) Series of which approx 9 of the 33 grandprixs are shown on ESPN/ESPN2. The Busch family, long connected to equestrian promotion and sport, and their company helped establish and promote the series.



  20. #20
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    Congratulations Snowbird!I'm sure you will be getting inundated with ideas....



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