World Equestrian Games Mythbusters: Ticket Prices

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UPDATE 7/15/10:
Select tickets for Dressage, Endurance, Eventing, Jumping and Reining competitions at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are now available at with a 30 percent savings in a special promotion. Read more >>

Beezie Madden riding Play On

ORIGINAL ARTICLE 7/14/10:

“Ticket prices are outrageous!”

Tickets to the 2010 Games start as low as $25 for a grounds pass. Competition tickets also start at $25. Tickets for Eventing Cross-Country, Driving Marathon and Endurance are only $45. The average ticket price for the Games is $85 and the most expensive ticket is $150, for the Opening Ceremonies.

Let’s compare these prices to other ticket prices. Individual tickets for a University of Kentucky football home game start at $46. Tickets for the popular University of Kentucky vs. University of Louisville football game are listed on findticketsfast.com, a discount ticket web site, for a minimum of $117. Tickets to popular concerts generally start at around $35 and double or triple that price as the seats get closer to the stage. For championship events, spectators are shelling out even more. Tickco.com has tickets for the Super Bowl starting at $1,800 and all-sessions tickets to the NCAA Final Four are listed from $541-$4,091.

These prices seem exorbitant when compared to what it costs to see multiple days of competition or to see all sessions of one discipline at the 2010 Games. Eventing, which is midrange when it comes to price per session, has six total sessions to watch. This includes four sessions of Eventing Dressage (two sessions per day) at $60 each, Cross-Country Jumping is $45 and Stadium Jumping is $105. The total price to see every session of the Eventing Championship is $390. Those prices are also premium seats. The six sessions at Price B seating totals $305.

Looking at other high-class equestrian events this year, the 2010 Games ticket prices are right on par. The upcoming World Equestrian Festival in Aachen, Germany is a prestigious horse show with competitions in Jumping, Dressage, Eventing, Driving and Vaulting. For final round Stadium Jumping tickets, premium seats range from £60 or around $76 to £135 or almost $171. The most expensive finals round Jumping ticket at the 2010 Games is $130. In addition, the World Equestrian Festival is not a world championship.

Another bonus for buying a competition ticket at the 2010 Games is that grounds pass admission activities are included. This means that the ticketholder will have access to all of the activities that are available throughout the park on the day they have a competition ticket. These activities include the Trade Show, for spectator shopping; the Equine Village, where top clinicians and breed organizations will be giving demonstrations; the Kentucky Experience, where spectators can explore Kentucky tourism in one place, and the Alltech Experience, showcasing the products and programs of the title sponsor.

After comparing other event ticket prices with the ticket prices at the 2010 Games, and after looking at what a ticket to the Games will include, it is safe to say that the myth that “ticket prices are outrageous” is officially busted.

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Those of us that live here and work in the horse industry are already well aware that the prices are comparable to other world class events. That does not, however, change the fact that those of us that live and work in horse country are priced out of attending these events with our families. For me to take my family (myself, husband, 2 kids) to see one round of show jumping I will fork out 425 dollars. That is about what I make in a week working with horses here in Georgetown.

  2. Alissa your comment is very true. I priced opening ceremonies at $150 per person right off their website. I would love to take my family of 4, but I can’t hardly afford one. I live an hour from the Kentucky Horse Park. What about those who want to go to the games, but live further away. Count in gas and food and you have a very expensive trip.

  3. Tammy, the opening ceremonies are the most expensive ticket of the entire event. There are competition tickets (or the $25 grounds pass) that are comparable in price to going to an amusement park, where travel and food will still be super expensive. The difference is that the amusement park will be there next year, but this is the only chance you’ll ever have to see WEG in Kentucky. Personally, I’m willing to forego other weekend trips this summer so that I can attend WEG this fall.

  4. Martha, your comment about this being a one time event is true. I have also priced other events that I would be most interested in seeing and they are anywhere from $60 to $80, plus $20 for parking per day. The average family won’t be able to afford such an expense. I don’t expect the event to be free of course, but it would be nice to be able to enjoy such an event without having to scrimp for every last penny. For those of us who are local to the area we are seeing an increase of prices all over central Ky. because of the games (gas, food, etc…). This is also a hardship on those that live in the area and add to the expense of those who would like to attend the event.

  5. Not to mention how difficult it is for the residents to get around the games this fall. From what I understand, 1. There is no parking on the grounds so all visitors, spectators, Horse Park staff, and volunteers have to be bussed onto the grounds and 2. the organizers are trying to have Ironworks (the main thoroughfare past the park) shut down during the games, which means that myself, and those like me, who have to travel between our various farms and the training center need to make alternate routes which adds time and mileage onto our days. I am all for the games, I love that they are being held in the US, but there needs to be some understanding about the impact on surrounding communities and how such circumstances might lead to frustration.

  6. I look at WEG as a vacation. The average, middle-class family takes one vacation a year, and if they happen to all love horses, it would make sense to use the vacation savings to go to WEG since this is their only chance to do so. If a family does not have a vacation budget, then they’re probably not expecting to go to this event any more than they’re expecting to go to Disneyland.
    At the equestrian Olympic events in 2008, they gave out tickets to dressage for free to locals because they wanted to fill the seats. People were literally falling asleep in the stands. Putting a price on the tickets means that the people who are there are the people who truly want to be there, not random warm bodies who will get bored and wander off halfway through. The riders worked hard to get to these games. They deserve an appreciative audience.
    I don’t know why your grocery and gas stations would be artificially raising their prices now, a few months before the influx of tourists, but if you suspect that the gas stations are price gouging, that is a crime and you should report it to your state attorney general’s office.

  7. I appreciate your thoughts and I understand your logic, but they still do not address the issue of how the local residents (who for the most part are horse-lovers) have been priced out of the games. People like my family and many others who work in the horse industry cannot afford to go to the games.
    For those of us that live here this is not like a family vacation. My husband is one of the official farriers (they are all unpaid) for the AFA for two of the events and even he can’t get discounted tickets for his family, even though he is volunteering his time and rig. I am a volunteer for emergency horse transport for the x-country and I can’t get tickets for an event at a rate that I can afford.
    The point that I am trying to make is that the residents of Lexington and Georgetown are passionately putting in our time and effort for an event that we cannot afford to attend.

  8. Well, they kind of did address the issue of the local folks by offering grounds passes for KY residents at $15. Even though that presale offer is over, it’s still only $25 for a grounds pass and kids under 12 get in free. Check out the KY Horse Park’s ticket pricing…depending on the age of your kids, it could actually cost you more to visit the park this weekend than it will during WEG.
    I am rather appalled that they’re not paying the farriers, though. That seems criminal.

  9. Ladies, this has been a great conversation. I really enjoy it when people are able to converse without insults. I really am glad the WEG are taking place here. I feel privleged when I think of people coming here from all over the world to compete. Horses are a great communication tool, not to mention beautiful. Thank you ladies for your thoughts.

  10. I had been looking forward to going to the WEG ever since I first heard about it several years ago. When I finally saw that tickets were on sale and the prices were listed I quickly scanned the schedule for the events I would have liked to see. Once I had it all added up, plane tickets, plus hotel costs, meals, events…I sadly realized it wasn’t going to be possible.
    I was SO upset. I felt as though my dreams were shattered. I had been looking forward to it, envisioning being there (at this monumental event) for so long, only to find out I couldn’t go because it was so insanely expensive. Whether the prices are comparable to other events or not it doesn’t change the fact that WEG tickets are not priced for the general public.
    I have become bitter toward the WEG for making it too expensive to participate in an event that is such a huge milestone in the horse world.
    In defense of WEG I understand my feelings may be a tad unrealistic. I know this event must have cost a small fortune to arrange for and set up. But they must have realized that all their spending was going to make it possible for only a small portion of our U.S. population to attend. It seems to me WEG (and/or it’s affiliates) may have been focused more on making a profit rather than spreading the joy of horses to the public. I suppose it was naive of me to expect such an event to be altruistic. Or at the very least reasonably priced.

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