Wellington, FL - Wellington, along with four other cities, has been confirmed as a bidder for the 2018 FEI World Equestrian Games™ (WEG). The world championships of international equestrian disciplines is held once every four years as one of the world's major sporting events. The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) confirmed Wellington along with Rabat, Morocco; Bromont, Canada; Budapest, Hungary; and Vienna, Austria. "We are honored and delighted to be selected as a bidder," said Michael Stone, President of Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP), the management company of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC). "We will seek meetings with the Village of Wellington and other local entities to discuss the candidacy, along with the United States Equestrian Federation."
As the facility organizers, ESP submitted Wellington as the host city for the 2018 FEI WEG. Wellington is home to the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, already one of the world's largest equestrian facilities and site of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival.
Stone noted, "The FEI put a lot of effort into ensuring the viability of the bid before moving it on to the candidacy status. This is very gratifying for ESP as the organizers."
Following the Bidding Process
ESP has followed the steps outlined by the FEI, including an expression of interest and then an application in April to become an official candidate. The bid includes explaining how Wellington can host the seven international disciplines of the WEG as well as para-dressage. Details of the five bid cities were formally presented to the FEI Bureau at its meeting in Lausanne (SUI) last week. An FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 presentation will be made to the five Candidates at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne on July 11 to explain the FEI's expectations and procedures concerning the Games. Legal Documentation will also be given to Candidates during that meeting. Completed Legal Documentation, including a signed Host Agreement, must be submitted to the FEI by December 15, 2012.
"It is fantastic to have five really strong bids for hosting the FEI World Equestrian Games™ in 2018 and there could be no better endorsement of the FEI's flagship event," said FEI Secretary General Ingmar de Vos. "The new bidding process that we put in place last year for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ has generated a huge amount of interest and we now look forward to welcoming the 2018 bidders to FEI Headquarters next month."
As the final stage in the bidding process, the Candidates will formally present their bids to the FEI Bureau at its Spring 2013 meeting, after which the official announcement of the host organisers of the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 will be made.
How South Florida Benefits
ESP has estimated WEG visitors would spend 260,000 bed nights in South Florida, 25,000 of them in Palm Beach County for the event in October, a bonus for Florida's tourist industry that peaks over the winter months. Wellington is close to major tourist attractions including Miami and the Everglades, as well as Disney World, Universal Studios, and other major attractions in Orlando, about a 2.5-hour drive.
A study by Deloitte, commissioned by the FEI, found that the WEG in Aachen, Germany, in 2006 had an economic impact of $291 million, $41 million more than Super Bowl XLIV in Miami in 2010. The economic impact of the 2010 Kentucky WEG was put at $233 million. At the Kentucky WEG, spectator spending was almost $100 million, plus $11 million in team expenditures and $45 million for event management, sponsors, trade stands and the media, according to the Deloitte study.
No outside financing-including taxpayer money-would be needed to stage the WEG at Wellington. Operations and additional capital improvements would be funded from ongoing operations and sponsorship. While $80 million was spent building new outdoor and indoor arenas and other upgrades at the state-owned Kentucky Horse Park for the 2010 WEG, most of the capital improvements required at a WEG in Wellington have already been made and were self-funded on an ongoing basis.
With the completion of the new dressage facility that includes one of the world's largest covered arenas, ESP would only have to determine the land used for eventing's cross-country and driving's marathon courses, along with endurance. For the cross-country and driving marathon courses, local golf courses can be used, while endurance could leverage Wellington's extensive bridle trail system.
The FEI World Equestrian Games™ By the Numbers
The FEI World Equestrian Games™ are held every four years, in the middle of the Olympic cycle. The seven FEI disciplines - Jumping, Dressage and Para-Equestrian Dressage, Eventing, Driving, Endurance, Vaulting and Reining - are all included on the competition schedule. The inaugural FEI World Equestrian Games™ were hosted in Stockholm (SWE) in 1990. Since then the Games have been staged in The Hague (NED) in 1994, Rome (ITA) in 1998, Jerez (ESP) in 2002, and Aachen (GER) in 2006. The first Games to be staged outside Europe were the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ in Kentucky (USA) 2010. The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2014 will be held in Caen (FRA).
The World Equestrian Games bring about a half-million spectators and 5,500 volunteers to watch about 650 athletes and 750 horses competing for world championships in dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, jumping, reining, vaulting and para-dressage. Approximately 1,600 media representatives from around the world cover the event.