WEG ticket sale schedule to be announced

Those waiting to buy tickets for the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games will get the news they want during Half Way There, a series of Games-related events and announcements that begins Sept. 22.

The announcements will include schedules for local ticket sales and for the 16 days of competition at the Kentucky Horse Park in 2010 that will decide eight world championships.

Three new corporate sponsors also will be announced, along with new Games merchandise, including a line of unofficial license plates, license plate holders and other items for motor vehicles.

Some 2,000 members of the news media from around the world also will learn the procedure for getting credentials to cover the Games.

John Long, chairman of the World Games 2010 Foundation, said Thursday that only 18 percent of the reserved-seat tickets to the Games have been committed in limited sales to members of equestrian groups in the United States and Europe.

Those sales will resume in October, but Long said a large block of tickets will be left for Bluegrass residents to buy, beginning in 2009.

The foundation expects to sell at least 600,000 tickets and raise $30.6 million of the $76.4 million needed to put on the games.

Corporate sponsors are expected to provide $27.15 million, but no new sponsors for the Games have been announced since December.

Long told the foundation's board that the drought was caused by the nation's economic slowdown, which has made potential sponsors reluctant to make long-term commitments.

He said the foundation was not reaching its "sponsorship targets," but the problem is expected to resolve itself as the economy improves and the Games get closer, forcing corporate decisions.

The "good news" is that "we are not being told 'No,'" said Terry Johnson, vice president of external relations.

Companies based in other countries are especially interested because their currencies are stronger than the dollar, making sponsorships less expensive, Johnson said.

The $27.15 million the foundation hopes to raise from sponsorships includes the $10 million being paid by Alltech to be the title sponsor.

The two other announced sponsors are Rolex and the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, but the amounts they are paying were not disclosed at their request.

Other companies and craft groups will provide services at no cost to the foundation before and during the Games. These in-kind contributions are expected to be worth $2.5 million.