I like horse sport. You like horse sport. Wouldn’t it be great if we could watch horse sports on TV? Let’s make that happen, Horse Nation.
The next three years are a triad of championships. In 2014, we have the World Equestrian Games in Normandy, France. In 2015, it’s the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada. And in 2016, we’re back on the Olympic trail for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
It’s going to be an exciting three seasons of high stakes competition and non-stop sports drama. Dreams will be realized. Hopes will be dashed. People will fall off.
Obviously, we want to watch the action unfold—preferably, live. Thanks to the web, equestrian sport is more accessible than ever. (Yay, live stream!) But it has yet to make the leap into mainstream media. (Boo!)
And that’s important—for everyone. More media exposure makes it easier to attract sponsors. The more sponsors, the lower the cost of showing. The lower the costs, the more people who’ll participate, the bigger the sport, the happier the world. It’s two steps from there to world peace and a cure for cancer. LET’S HUG!
While you may not realize it, it’s up to the fans to make media coverage happen. The good news is: all it’s going to take is the click of a few buttons. Three. Maybe four.
Here’s how it works: Media content is driven by public demand. They show us what we want to see so we’ll keep tuning in. Unfortunately, they cannot read our minds. So for public demand to work, the equestrian public has to make actual demands and to date, we’ve a rather poor track record. Equestrian consultant and CTV reporter Trina Maus explains.
“I’ve complained in the past that we don’t do enough equine sports in our newscast. I was told there isn’t any interest in the community. I am in Barrie [Ontario]. Our coverage area is Toronto to North Bay—horse country. We can cover events from facilities like Palgrave, Angelstone, and Cedar Run. The problem is, no one is writing into our station to let us know there is an event going on and that they want to see more equine sports on TV,” says Maus.
That holds true even when they do cover equine sport. Last year, CTV did a feature on the famed show jumping stallion Hickstead. The response? Crickets.
“No one emailed to say they were pleased to see a story on such an exceptional horse or even to just share a memory about him. Usually when we do a memorial story on such an influential person (or animal) we receive more public feedback, so a TV station can only assume the story did not resonate with the public,” says Maus.
It’s time we did something about that.
Rolex has already started the ball rolling for show jumping. Between the Grand Slam series and their new contract with the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida, there will be more television coverage of major show jumping events this year than there has been in recent history. Maybe ever.
We have an opportunity to build on that momentum for all equestrian sports and all it takes from you is an email requesting coverage.
Look! I wrote one for you:
I’m a big fan of equestrian sport. I’d love to see you cover international [insert your favorite discipline].
Especially now! The World Equestrian Games is coming up in Normandy, France this August. How about you cover the qualifying events that will determine our national team? (You’ll find them listed at the USEFNetwork.com)
All the biggest names in the sport will be there. I’d definitely tune in to see who’s leading our medal hopes.
Now, all you have to do is copy the text, fill in the blank, and click on one (or all) the links below. (They’re the top ranked sports sites on the Internet.) Then paste your letter and send!
Or, if that’s too much effort, just click on the Yahoo! Sports link and vote for the first suggestion you see.
Email today. Horse sports in the news tomorrow!