Organizers of the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games are lowering ticket prices in an attempt to prop up lagging ticket sales, especially among casual spectators.
Starting Thursday, a special promotion will offer a 30 percent savings on tickets to many of the early phases of the eight competitions. The special offer will end on Labor Day, Sept. 6.
The Games will be Sept. 25 to Oct. 10 at the Kentucky Horse Park.
About 270,000 tickets have been sold, far less than the once-anticipated 600,000. (Each ticket sale does not represent a spectator, since a single spectator may buy tickets to several events.) Organizers have said the economy is mostly to blame for more people not buying tickets priced at more than $100 for some events.
Jamie Link, chief executive of the World Games Foundation, said he's hopeful the promotion will get more fans to attend the early rounds of different competitions. The finals of those events are selling well.
"We're trying to incentivize them to look at the early rounds," he said. "Those sessions weren't selling as well."
The new prices include a discount on the one day of endurance riding, where riders race over a 100-mile course, from $45 to $25. Tickets to the team competition in show jumping, which were $110, are now $77; reining tickets that were $95 are now $67.
Link said that he hopes to sell 500,000 tickets, just under the 570,000 mark from the 2006 World Games in Aachen, Germany.
"We're finding that people are waiting until closer to the event to purchase tickets," he said. "Having every seat sold is our goal, but we have to be realistic about what we can expect."
About 31,000 tickets have been sold to people outside the United States.
Organizers are currently building the temporary seating at the outdoor stadium, the main competition venue. It could seat as many as 30,000 people, but Link said they will remain flexible.
"We don't want to overbuild and we don't want to underbuild," he said.
For example, the finals of freestyle dressage, in which horse and rider perform complicated routines set to music, have already sold 24,000 tickets, but other events have sold many fewer tickets.
The promotion does not affect grounds pass tickets, which allow people access to all the other events at the Horse Park, including an equine village and trade show. Those tickets are $25. Children younger than 12 do not need grounds pass tickets, but do need tickets to the events.
The Games will not refund any money on already purchased tickets, which is standard practice on sports or entertainment tickets that are later discounted.
To see the promotional prices and buy tickets, visit www.alltechfeigames.com/tickets, www.ticketmaster.com, call 1-888-934-2010, or visit your local Ticketmaster outlet.
For ticketing assistance and general information, call the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games Information Center at 1-888-934-2010.