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Karl Cook - Fixing horse shows

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    Karl Cook - Fixing horse shows

    Have to say for the most part I think he is spot on. Check out his Instagram for full comments.

    https://www.theplaidhorse.com/2020/0...r-horse-shows/


    Thoughts?

    #2
    I agree 100% with the USEF needing to get sponsors. And also the the USEF doesn’t care much about getting other sponsors to reduce the membership costs because they memberships pay them.
    I also have felt for the long time that USEF does a poor job of promoting and advertising equestrian sports.

    However, I do disagree on the prize money. More prize money means higher show costs. I think we should be making our sport as accessible as possible. IE: as cheap as possible.

    Comment


      #3
      He definitely brings up some good points. I also agree with USEF taking on a bigger role. I agree about the mileage rule being tweaked, too. Yeah, on the fence on prize money, but he has a point. We did have a lot of 25,000 GPs in the '80s and '90s. Also, he didn't really address how expensive showing is for the non-pro. If it were cheaper, more folks would do it, and that would cause growth. So, in a circular fashion, that brings us back to USEF taking on more to bring in sponsors.
      My hopeful road to the 2021 RRP TB Makeover: https://paradoxfarm.blog/

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by ParadoxFarm View Post
        He definitely brings up some good points. I also agree with USEF taking on a bigger role. I agree about the mileage rule being tweaked, too. Yeah, on the fence on prize money, but he has a point. We did have a lot of 25,000 GPs in the '80s and '90s. Also, he didn't really address how expensive showing is for the non-pro. If it were cheaper, more folks would do it, and that would cause growth. So, in a circular fashion, that brings us back to USEF taking on more to bring in sponsors.
        Yeah, more sponsors = more money = cheaper entry fees.
        USEF needs sponsors and to advertise. He is right; why isn’t GP jumpers shown on ESPN when things like video gaming are?

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by StormyDay View Post

          Yeah, more sponsors = more money = cheaper entry fees.

          Does it though? His quote in formulaic terms: Sponsorships = higher quality events = more sponsors.

          More sponsors = more money to who? The USEF? The show venue? I don't have a lot of confidence that either of those organizations will feel they have to pass that down to me - the adult amateur whose highlight real is NOT going to get on ESPN and create the feedback loop he mentioned.

          I don't disagree with his point, but I agree with ParadoxFarm - it doesn't address the true amateurs.

          Comment


            #6
            I think he makes some good points, but I agree with fatappy. More sponsorships and more prize money for a grand prix does not trickle down to the cost of showing for the average amateur, or even any hunter rider really. Look at the amount of prize money at Tryon. They regularly host a $150k-$300k grand prix. This is one of the more expensive places in my area to show as an amateur hunter rider.
            **Stacey**

            Comment


              #7
              I'm going to be a little grumpy at this and say, there's nothing new or particularly actionable here. It's not that no one has ever thought of these ideas before. It's full of "can't SOMEONE ELSE do it?"

              The idea of USEF finding title sponsors is a fair question - how do they compare to other federations? Could they do more? How much would it cost and who would you have to hire to do more? And then it's right in conflict with the next idea to kill the mileage rule and give USEF less control over individual shows. Which is it? Do you think USA Gymnastics or the NFL doesn't set the competition schedule?

              As for why Grands Prix aren't on ESPN, that is also a good question, because they used to be. I bet someone here even knows the answer in a true insider way. IIRC it has to do with other sports becoming more available and drawing more desirable audience (at least in pre-COVID days when those sports were running). In general, ESPN hasn't been that interested in showing any sports that women like to watch more than men.
              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

              Comment


                #8
                I think he's overlooking a big reality. Companies like Coca-Cola sponsor the NFL not because they want the players and their family to buy Coke but because there's a huge, huge national spectating audience. That is who Coca-Cola is targeting. We don't have the same attention. Until hunter/jumper shows are on ESPN and people are chatting around the cooler about their Fantasy Pony Hunter league, there's no way we're going to attract the big money sponsors.

                Nobody is every going to want to watch us. We're boring. I have trouble mustering the ability to sit and watch hunters at Devon for more than a couple of hours in a row and it's MY OWN SPORT and I'm there live. It's subjective, takes for ever, it's kind of boring. I love it, but it is. Even jumpers is kind of boring after a while. This isn't ever going to be a real spectator sport and I don't see that changing.
                ~Veronica
                "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by vxf111 View Post

                  Nobody is every going to want to watch us. We're boring. I have trouble mustering the ability to sit and watch hunters at Devon for more than a couple of hours in a row and it's MY OWN SPORT and I'm there live. It's subjective, takes for ever, it's kind of boring. I love it, but it is. Even jumpers is kind of boring after a while. This isn't ever going to be a real spectator sport and I don't see that changing.
                  While true, who would have thought poker on ESPN would garner much interest? For fun, I looked up weird events on ESPN and came across this from an article in May. Kind of funny, really. But seriously, would NO ONE watch jumping??

                  12:00 p.m.: World Record Deadlift Attempt by Thor Bjornsson (Live)
                  1:00 p.m.: Professional Arm Wrestling
                  1:30 p.m: 2006 KrystAal World Hamburger Eating Competition
                  2:30 p.m: E:60 -- Cheese Rolling, Frog Jumping, and Japanese Monster Wrestling
                  3:30 p.m: 2018 Classic Tetris World Championship
                  4:00 p.m.: 2019 Golden Tee World Championship
                  4:30 p.m.:51st Annual Stone Skipping Competition
                  5:30 p.m.: 46th Annual Cherry Pit Spitting Championship
                  6:00 p.m.: Dodge Juggle
                  7:00 p.m.: Putt Putt Championships
                  7:30 p.m.: 2019 Stupid Robot Fighting league
                  8:00 p.m.:2019 World Sign Spinning
                  8:30: p.m. 2019 Jelle's Marble Run
                  9:00 p.m.: Lawn Mower Racing
                  9:30 p.m.: Slippery Stairs
                  10:00 p.m.: Death Diving

                  So....I'm perplexed.
                  My hopeful road to the 2021 RRP TB Makeover: https://paradoxfarm.blog/

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Someone here might remember better than me what media company it was, but sometime in the late 90s or maybe 2000 the Wellington Florida Grand Prix were televised as long as the riders wore polo shirts.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by ParadoxFarm View Post

                      While true, who would have thought poker on ESPN would garner much interest? For fun, I looked up weird events on ESPN and came across this from an article in May. Kind of funny, really. But seriously, would NO ONE watch jumping??

                      12:00 p.m.: World Record Deadlift Attempt by Thor Bjornsson (Live)
                      1:00 p.m.: Professional Arm Wrestling
                      1:30 p.m: 2006 KrystAal World Hamburger Eating Competition
                      2:30 p.m: E:60 -- Cheese Rolling, Frog Jumping, and Japanese Monster Wrestling
                      3:30 p.m: 2018 Classic Tetris World Championship
                      4:00 p.m.: 2019 Golden Tee World Championship
                      4:30 p.m.:51st Annual Stone Skipping Competition
                      5:30 p.m.: 46th Annual Cherry Pit Spitting Championship
                      6:00 p.m.: Dodge Juggle
                      7:00 p.m.: Putt Putt Championships
                      7:30 p.m.: 2019 Stupid Robot Fighting league
                      8:00 p.m.:2019 World Sign Spinning
                      8:30: p.m. 2019 Jelle's Marble Run
                      9:00 p.m.: Lawn Mower Racing
                      9:30 p.m.: Slippery Stairs
                      10:00 p.m.: Death Diving

                      So....I'm perplexed.
                      People like watching poker because a WHOLE LOT of the viewing public plays (unprofessionally) themselves. The same portion of the population does not enjoy watching equestrian nor ride themselves. Plus what people are REALLY watching there is gambling. It's less about watching people play cards and more about the stakes etc. And people love to gamble as evidenced by.... casinos and sportsbooks everywhere.

                      Most people watching horse racing don't care about horses. They care about gambling.

                      Equestrian is a little like sailing. It's really not of interest to a whole LOT of people who don't sail themselves. It's sort of boring to watch a lot of the time. Even people who enjoy it on a minimal level don't enjoy watching it.
                      ~Veronica
                      "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                      http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Shouldn't it be show managment that's responsible to get sponsors? That's the way it works in AQHA.
                        ~~Some days are a total waste of makeup.~~

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by poltroon View Post

                          As for why Grands Prix aren't on ESPN, that is also a good question, because they used to be. I bet someone here even knows the answer in a true insider way.
                          As I recall, the Grand Prix classes were on ESPN when one of the companies that sponsored many classes was owned by someone who also owned horses. I don’t know if the ESPN broadcasts were somehow underwritten by the sponsor, but I would think there was some sort of connection.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            I think the better model for us to think about is maybe not Dodge Juggle (I'm sorry, what?) or Tetris in the US, but why showing in Europe is so much cheaper. Whenever I go to try horses in Europe, I usually manage to go visit a show. There are actual spectators at what would be considered small shows. Vendors do good business, all the eateries are full, people use it as an inexpensive afternoon out with their kids.

                            I just got back from showing at the Oaks. They forbid all spectators. My trainer's owner was not allowed to watch her horses in the Grand Prix for example. They really did their best to limit access and encourage people to show and go. That said, it was still hard to get a parking spot if you got there after 8am. I bet if you looked at satellite images, you couldn't tell from the parking lot if it was pre or post COVID.

                            So we clearly are struggling for spectators. But I do not agree that our sport is boring. If it were, why would it be the number 2 sport in germany behind soccer? Show jumping is super telegenic, even my horse hating husband will watch the "Beeze-monster" as he calls her on HD.

                            USEF needs to do a better job growing the base and participation. That will drive engagement and make it worthwhile for vendors to come to shows and sponsors to sponsor classes. It will also make it easier to sell tv or streaming rights. All of that will help lower the costs to show. Maybe it helps if we support streaming subscriptions as they do in Europe with clip my horse for example? I'm always amazed how many ads Clip my horse has when I stream something there.

                            I think we need to compare how they do things over there vs. how we do things here. Are show managers struggling bc of insurance costs as the US is super litigious? Should shows be shorter as they often can be in Europe? It's probably more complicated than I'm making it seem but I think it's a good place to start.

                            To me, that's more impactful than just demanding show managers offer more prize money. Tom runs million dollar classes and his shows suck... I don't think that's the solution, sorry.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Mehhh.

                              Last time I did a rated show was 6+ years ago. Cost 700 dollars for the show (not including membership fees) 700 dollars for me to putz around the lows, I was a poor working student and didn’t have to pay a trainer fee, I did all my own grooming and horse care. I can only imagine it’s gotten more expensive.

                              There was a post on FB floating around from some trainer talking about showing USEF for the weekend vs going to a barrel race for the weekend and the prize back money etc. My husband loves horses, is an avid rider and at one point was a college athlete. He thinks Grand Prixs/showjumping is uber boring *shoulder shrug*
                              https://www.instagram.com/streamlinesporthorses/

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by vxf111 View Post
                                I think he's overlooking a big reality. Companies like Coca-Cola sponsor the NFL not because they want the players and their family to buy Coke but because there's a huge, huge national spectating audience. That is who Coca-Cola is targeting. We don't have the same attention. Until hunter/jumper shows are on ESPN and people are chatting around the cooler about their Fantasy Pony Hunter league, there's no way we're going to attract the big money sponsors.

                                Nobody is every going to want to watch us. We're boring. I have trouble mustering the ability to sit and watch hunters at Devon for more than a couple of hours in a row and it's MY OWN SPORT and I'm there live. It's subjective, takes for ever, it's kind of boring. I love it, but it is. Even jumpers is kind of boring after a while. This isn't ever going to be a real spectator sport and I don't see that changing.
                                What makes sports exciting for spectators is really less about the mechanics of a particular sport, but the story that the commentators can tell and the excitement they can bring. I was reminded of this by listening to the Heavy Medals podcast and how gymnastics went from a sport that begged for TV time to one of the marquee sports of the summer olympics. The NBC commentators loved telling the story of Bela Karolyi (more chilling when you know the whole of it) and of the amazing girls he trained... who could win.

                                A lot of what makes people watch sports in America is tribalism. My city, my team, the story I know of my player. Baseball or even football is not objectively more exciting than showjumping or whitewater canoeing or volleyball.
                                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

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Originally posted by fatappy View Post


                                  Does it though? His quote in formulaic terms: Sponsorships = higher quality events = more sponsors.

                                  More sponsors = more money to who? The USEF? The show venue? I don't have a lot of confidence that either of those organizations will feel they have to pass that down to me - the adult amateur whose highlight real is NOT going to get on ESPN and create the feedback loop he mentioned.

                                  I don't disagree with his point, but I agree with ParadoxFarm - it doesn't address the true amateurs.
                                  That is true; there is no way to know if the money would ever find its way down to the amateur. But it should, and if USEF wants to survive it needs to.
                                  We are a dying sport. If USEF or any equestrian sport wants to survive into the future, we have to make it more accessible. It needs to be seen as a sport for everyone.
                                  And I truly believe it can be. A month of riding lessons can cheaper than many after school sports. Near me, soccer is $95 a week. You could easily get two lessons for the same cost. Cheer and dance are extremely costly; my cousin was expected to buy $300 bows for her hair for each different routine they did.

                                  So why does dance, or cheer, or any of these other after school sports have such good reputations but horses are seen as expensive and elitist? Maybe we need better PR? More advertising? Better outreach?

                                  Why is it that the majority of people I talk to who do hunter/jumpers say they only do a one or two rated, or maybe none at all, every year?
                                  I know it has been said before that the shows cost a lot of money to put on. But then why is it that the same facility that charges $200 a week for a stall at the H/J show then charges $10 a day for the barrel racing show the next week?

                                  I also think that if given the screen time, advertising, editing, and commentary that other sports get, almost every equestrian event could draw crowds. People LOVE horses. Just go to any city with horse carriages and you will see people taking pictures, wanting to touch them, etc. And watching something like showjumping is exciting and easy to follow. Polo is another sport that would be an easy sell to the public.
                                  I believe it comes back to inclusivity. We need to make the sport as a whole more approachable. Some venues are actually pretty good at this; i think WEF does a pretty good job and actually draws non-horse people from Palm Beach to enjoy the sport and the shopping. The nearby Polo club is also usually packed with many non-horse people.

                                  But we also need to reach more people who want to ride but don't know how to get started, or feel it is an exclusive sport. How do we reach the large non-white communities that now make up a significant portion of the population, a portion that has been largely ignored in the horse community? How do we reach the city dwellers who don't realize a barn is only a few miles away? How do we reach the 40-50 something empty nester who always wanted to ride, but didn't feel she/he could because of work/jobs/etc?

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by fatappy View Post


                                    Does it though? His quote in formulaic terms: Sponsorships = higher quality events = more sponsors.

                                    More sponsors = more money to who? The USEF? The show venue? I don't have a lot of confidence that either of those organizations will feel they have to pass that down to me - the adult amateur whose highlight real is NOT going to get on ESPN and create the feedback loop he mentioned.

                                    I don't disagree with his point, but I agree with ParadoxFarm - it doesn't address the true amateurs.
                                    At least in eventing, when we have more sponsors of the show, the entry fees are substantially lower. For example, an FEI three day event with normal sponsorship, entry is about $1000 per FEI per Horse. If you were to enter the 5* at Land Rover Kentucky Three day, entry is only $400 because of all the sponsorship. Let’s not forget all the membership fees that were already paid ( USEF, USEA, FEI rider, FEI horse, USEF passport)

                                    i watched Karl’s video on Instagram and also the follow up to it. He had some great points on sponsorship, expanding the viewership ( I didn’t even realize we had corn hole sports on tv 🤷🏼‍♀️), maintaining a certain level of quality at the shows, bringing costs down at shows and promoting our sport. Prize money.... for wasn’t my take away.
                                    it really is a good video to watch ( both that he posted) and food for thought.

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      When I see images of USA shows, it is the lack of audience and rhe rows and rows of empty seats in the stadia that catches my eye. I presume the business model is that the competitors most cover all the costs of the show? But then, where does the big prize money come from?

                                      One curious thing about sports coverage in the UK, apart from racing (second only to football - soccer - in hours of air time) horse sport doesn't get much. However, of the top 10 sporting annual events in terms of attendence, horses are the focus of 5 of them, three race meetings and 2 eventing fixtures.
                                      "Good young horses are bred, but good advanced horses are trained" Sam Griffiths

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by poltroon View Post

                                        What makes sports exciting for spectators is really less about the mechanics of a particular sport, but the story that the commentators can tell and the excitement they can bring.

                                        If there is a sportscaster that can make amateur hunters at the 3' and lower level exciting in the play by play, I'd like to meet that person

                                        Other than very big grand prix and a few other select events, most equestrian disciplines are really just not that exciting. They're largely subjective, they're not team oriented, they're not geographic (root for the home team etc.), and most people just aren't in to them. I mean, sometimes in the middle of a training level dressage test *I* wanted to stop experiencing it from boredom and I was the one riding it

                                        Most shows are 90% lower level people doing basic stuff and 10% what anyone might even passably characterize as exciting.

                                        I love the sport but even we don't really watch it ourselves. We watch our friends and barmates, and we watch the BIG STUFF. But raise your hand if you ever went for the day to watch a local schooling show where you knew no one JUST for the ENTERTAINMENT factor (Not because you were scoping out the grounds or helping a friend or trainer shopping etc. but because you wanted to watch strangers chip in to 2'6 for hours).
                                        ~Veronica
                                        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                                        http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                                        Comment

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