Latest News

Deal would regulate ads

The Kentucky Horse Park and Newtown Pike would become a "clean zone" of selected advertising during the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, according to a draft agreement between the city and the WEG foundation to be discussed by city council members Tuesday.

Only official World Games sponsors would be able to advertise in a zone that includes a four-mile radius of the Horse Park and the length of Newtown Pike for up to 30 days before and during the two weeks of the Games, which begin Sept. 25, 2010.

The agreement would also require official licensing to sell any World Games merchandise in that area.

"What this is trying to prevent is a bunch of rogue vendors setting up shop along Newtown Pike selling knock-off stuff," said Penny Ebel, the city's special events director and World Games liaison. "We don't want a flea market look up and down Newtown Pike."

Big sporting events do all they can to protect sponsors, such as Alltech, a local animal nutrition company that put up $10 million for the games, said Scott Kelley, director of the University of Kentucky Sports Marketing Academy.

"I would think all sporting events of any magnitude should be doing something like this," he said.

Agreements like this protect against "ambush marketing," Kelley said, where a sponsor's competitor might try to link to an event without paying for a sponsorship. For example, he said, "the WEG folks have to be able to tell John Deere, (one of their major sponsors), that there won't be any International Harvester billboards on Newtown Pike when people are going to the World Equestrian Games," Kelley said. "If they can't tell them that, the sponsorship is less valuable."

The Host City agreement, which took a year to construct, details other arrangements between Lexington and the World Games Foundation:

■ The city is planning a downtown festival for the two weeks of the Games. The city must devise its own trademark that does not even mention the words "World Games" or use any of their logos. The Foundation will pay for official World Games banners to go up downtown.

■ The Foundation will arrange for the athletes to re-enact the daily medal ceremonies downtown after competition is over. But, under the agreement, only Games sponsor logos or other identification could appear within 10 feet of the stage or on television. After the ceremony is over, the city could put up its logo.

■ The agreement allows city sponsors to buy Games tickets. For example, if a business donated $75,000 to the downtown festival, they would be able to buy 10 tickets per event at the Games.

"The mayor is comfortable with it and I'm comfortable with it in terms of what they expect of us and what we expect of them," Ebel said of the agreement. "We wanted to be very clear about responsibilities."

City council will give the agreement two readings before final approval.

The World Games are expected to sell 600,000 tickets for the world finals in eight equestrian disciplines. More than 900 horses and 800 athletes are supposed to take part.