“Money pit” might be an apt descriptor for the 2010 WEGs, according to a story published over the weekend in the Lexington Herald-Leader.
The Games were originally projected to be the first of their kind of return a profit. But despite a $3m cash injection from Dr. Pearse Lyons, founder/president of title sponsor Alltech, and a last-minute $2m loan from Darley, a thoroughbred breeding and racing organization owned by FEI president Princess Haya’s husband, the World Games 2010 Foundation still finished $1,386,625 in the red according to its 2010 tax return.
USEF Executive Director John Long blamed “the sea change of the economy,” which affected ticket sales, airfare and horse shipping costs.
Alltech, which spent upwards of $32 million to “activate” its original sponsorship, is signed on to sponsor the 2014 WEGs in Normandy, France. Alltech spokeswoman Susanna Elliott told the Herald-Leader, “[Lyons] still considers the Games the best business decision he’s ever made.”
“We’re beyond 2010 now,” Elliot continued. “We look back on 2010 as an incredibly successful event, and now we’re focused on making 2014 as successful.”
Half of the loan to Darley has been repaid, but it is unclear what will happen to the remainder of the debt. As the books close on the Games, both the foundation and the FEI acknowledge that repayment is unlikely.
Read the whole story here.