Quebec Unable to Fund 2018 World Equestrian Games
In 2014, the Fédération Équestre Internationale awarded the 2018 World Equestrian Games to Bromont, Quebec, and two years later, (just a few short days ago,) FEI announced that the organizing committee could no longer host the Games due to financial difficulties. “This is a very sad moment for equestrian sport, and possibly even for our reputation as a province or a country to hold major events,” said Richard Mongeau, executive director of Cheval Quebec, a non-profit organization with 20,000 members in the province.
While the event was estimated to have brought a potential $350 million into the local economy, and Bromont’s Mayor Pauline Quinlan is disappointed with FEI’s decision, but a lack of private funding secured for the event has sent the federal government, anticipated to match the $9 million the province pledged, into a financial retreat. Ottawa announced it would not be contributing at all. This comes in the wake of five organizing committee members of the event quitting in April.
FEI believes it is possible for another organizing committee to take over the event and see it hosted elsewhere: “Of course it isn’t easy for any organising committee to put on an event of this magnitude in a two-year timeframe, but it is not unprecedented and the Italians hosted a brilliant World Equestrian Games in Rome in 1998 after Ireland pulled out less than two years before the Games, so we are confident that a workable solution will be found.” said Ingmar De Vos.
There are those who are positioning Kentucky as a potential host, and former Lexington mayor Jim Newberry is vocal about his desire to see Kentucky host again. “It was one of the greatest things that’s ever happened to Lexington,” Newberry said of the 2010 World Equestrian Games. He was mayor at the time. “If we had the opportunity to do it again, with the benefit of experience, with the benefit of a better economic environment, it can be one of the best things that’s ever happened to Lexington.”
However, the FEI has said to press that the United States Equestrian Federation has not yet stated interest in Kentucky hosting the games, so there is no official word of the games being hosted in the US.
Kentucky spent a reported $107 million in funds from state, local, and federal money in preparing Lexington for the 2010 games which went to things such as improvements to the Kentucky Horse Park. The indoor arena and outdoor stadium built for the games as part of the improvements still stand in good repair. The other improvements made to the city, such as the Ironworks Pike-Interstate 75 interchange, and downtown streetscapes are all still in place and the basis of an infrastructure that could potentially support the games on this amount of short notice.
“We can only do it if we pull together. That means that state government’s got to be intimately involved and fully engaged in the whole effort. It means local government’s got to be fully engaged. It means the folks at the Horse Park have got to really want to do this because time is short and if we’re going to make it work, we’ve got to start immediately and have all hands on deck,” Newberry said.
According to an economic impact report published by the Kentucky Tourism, Arts, & Heritage Cabinet, the 2010 Games contributed $201.5 million to Kentucky’s economy including ticket sales, lodging, food, and transportation. It also says Kentucky took in $23 million in tax revenue as a result of spending by visitors at the Games.