A community forum in Lexington Wednesday calmed fears that the economy might sidetrack the Alltech World Equestrian games scheduled for the Kentucky Horse Park in 2010.
The forum was held at the downtown public library to put to rest concerns and rumors that the country's economic woes are putting the games in jeopardy. But those on the panel spoke with great pride about what has already been accomplished in the way of sponsorships.
Terry Johnson, the Vice President of Sales for the World Games 2010 Foundation, told 27 NEWSFIRST, "We're already almost double what the prior games in 2006 generated. We're really 70 percent of the way to our budgeted goal."
Much of that 70 per cent came early in the process when Alltech signed on as the title sponsor so we asked the question: Has it been increasingly difficult to sell sponsorships as the economy goes deeper and deeper into the tank?
Johnson responded, "Yes, the economy is hard on everybody. It is tough and getting tougher each day. The uncertainty is what drives that, and it has caused us to be more creative. We were very excited to announce a couple of new additions in the Fall after the economy took a downturn. Now, in the next 60 to 90 days, I think there's a good possibility we're going to announce 2 or 3 more big sponsors."
Jamie Link, CEO of the World Games 2010 Foundation, believes that no matter what the economy does, getting behind the games is an investment in Kentucky's future. He told the audience at the forum, "It would be short sighted of us to just focus on what it's going to cost. We're going to be on television to over half a billion people, and based on our preliminary data and the number of hotel rooms that are being booked, I think people are going to come here to see the games in person. It's not an annual event so people can't say, 'I won't go this year. I'll go next year.' It happens one time, and these are the best of the best in equestrian sports."
Krista Greathouse of Shorts Travel offered proof of how many people might be coming. She said, "Requests for housing are coming in at a rate of 2,000 per month."