For Immediate Release
Wellington, FL – July 9, 2012 – Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP), owner and operator of the world renowned Winter Equestrian Festival, has informed the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) and the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) today that they are withdrawing their bid for the FEI World Equestrian Games™ 2018 to be held in Wellington, Florida. The USEF were kept fully informed of the issues and have expressed their disappointment at the decision.
Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner of Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEP) stated, “After extensive deliberations and analysis of the entire situation, including two years of planning and development efforts in support of a World Equestrian Games bid, the Operating Committee of WEP unanimously agreed that the recent actions taken by the newly-elected members of the Wellington Village Council (John Greene, Matt Wilhite, and Bob Margolis) to impede the development of equestrian sport in Wellington has forced us to withdraw our bid for the games.”
This decision will result in a major lost economic opportunity for Wellington, Palm Beach County, and the State of Florida. ESP announced its intention to bid more than two years ago and became an official candidate on June 11, 2012. Wellington was one of four remaining candidates, which included: Rabat, Morocco; Vienna, Austria; and Bromont, Canada.
Michael Stone, President of ESP added, “We have a responsibility to the community, equestrian sport, and the FEI World Equestrian Games™ not to waste the time, effort, and resources of all parties involved in the international selection process. The newly elected majority of the Village Council is attacking those venues that would host the event. This is contrary to the best interests of the Games and to the economy of Wellington. Despite their continued public statements about supporting our new dressage facility and of the equestrian industry in general, their words are disingenuous when compared to their recent and pending actions.”
“We are sorry Wellington will not be pursuing their bid,” FEI Secretary General Ingmar De Vos said.
The 2018 WEG was targeted to be held over a two-week period starting the first of October. It would have attracted an estimated 150,000 people from around the world and an estimated 350,000 people from around the United States. The economic data from the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games™ that were held in Lexington, Kentucky, resulted in the following:
– $233 million direct economic impact plus over $100 million indirect economic impact
– Over 200,000 lodging nights
– 507,000 attendees
– 66 channels from 100+ countries broadcast the games
Wellington Equestrian Partners are focusing their energies on the 2013 Winter Equestrian Festival and the 2013 Global Dressage Festival.