Horses

Those who can afford it will get first-class treatment

So you want to attend the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010, but you want to do it in style.

You want to hobnob with Princess Haya and other celebs, watch the competition from the best seats, enjoy daily entertainment, leave your car in a preferred spot and have access to a private patio with air conditioning and non-public restrooms.

If that sounds like your world, then you want one of the hospitality packages that will be unveiled Monday by the Games organizer, the World Games 2010 Foundation.

The packages are generally geared to corporate or group entertaining and are priced accordingly, but there will be daily "hospitality passes" for individuals, too.

The hospitality packages or passes can include access to the Champions Club at the main stadium and driving stadium, a VIP hospitality center, suites at the indoor arena and one or more of the 10 "private chalets" near the main stadium.

The good life at the Games can be yours for as little as $600 a person per day for a pass, but those might be limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Packages are a bit pricier. Want first-class treatment that includes all the tickets to the events of a specific discipline for a group of six during a four-day session of the 16-day games? Make that check out for $20,000, said Kim Bennett, the foundation's director of hospitality programs.

All 16 days, you say? That will be $80,000.

When all is said and done, the foundation expects to provide first-class comfort to as many as 1,400 people a day (not counting occupants of the chalets), or as many as 30,000 during the 16 days.

In return, those people or their hosts will provide an estimated $6.22 million of the $76.4 million budgeted for the Games.

Even in a recession, Bennett is "absolutely" certain of sliding across home plate in the 552 days before the Games begin.

"I am really very confident we will reach that revenue goal," the former director of special events and travel for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum said Friday in an interview.

Beginning Monday, details of the hospitality program will be widely circulated, Bennett said.

"It's one-stop shopping, basically," she said. "We are also very consistent with what other (sports) events have done."

Similar programs were offered on a smaller scale at the 2008 Ryder Cup golf tournament in Louisville, she said. A "mini-version" will be available at the Rolex Three-Day Events at the Kentucky Horse Park that begin April 23 this year and in April 2010.

One goal is to offer the packages early enough that businesses and other groups will have time to spread the cost over more than one fiscal year, Bennett said.

She expects some companies to buy smaller hospitality packages than they might have if the economy were stronger, and to make the commitment later than they might have in better times.

"We are trying to keep in mind the current economic climate," she said. "It's a very flexible program."

Bennett thinks it also will be a popular program, based on conversations she has had with potential package buyers.

"People are ready for it," she said. "They are ready to see what we are doing, what we have to offer."

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