What more can we learn from further fatalities out on the cross country course? Without the opportunity to review incidents any analysis of these tragedies is purely subjective and inconclusive. We can undoubtedly learn much more from these incidents given the opportunity and tools to do so.
Horseracing learnt these lessons a long time time ago, albeit for other reasons (race fixing). Every horse race is recorded and almost instantly reviewable. This gives the racing authorities a vast library of enormous value that produces a variety of benefits and income opportunities.
But videoing a horse race is so much easier than eventing – I hear you cry. Yes, you’ve only got to speak to the BBC to discover just how challenging TV coverage of eventing is to do well, only Golf comes a close second. There are pro’s and con’s for both, but coverage of eventing (at all levels) can be cost neutral and even cash generating long term.
Over the past few years we have seen the emergence of video services at everyday events across the country. I, for one, do not leave an event that has been covered with buying a copy of my showjumping and cross country round (admittedly for posterity reasons, as much as for the opportunity to review my mistakes and improve), and there is always a que of people at the stand doing exactly the same. (this only scratches the surface of the revenue potential when you see how other video libraries are generating revenues).
I’m convinced the reasons this has never been seriously considered is more to do with lack of commercial imperative rather than commercial acumen, and this is a major contributor to so many short comings of the sport. Some of the biggest outdoor sporting events are horse trials, generating millions in revenue, and many more events capable of increasing their ticketed attendance, yet the governing body has no “serious” commercial function.
Sometime ago there was talk of running a commercial arm separately from the sports arm, but this came to nothing – pity!
I’m not suggesting our sport is ever going to be as rich as football, but without a ‘serious’ commercial imperative to generate revenues, it’ll always be an amateur sport with little more than a passionate membership organisation and a small but passionate following.
My point here is we need more money in the sport for a variety of projects and initatives (like safety), and minor sponsorships just doesn’t scratch the surface. We’re also sitting on some very valuable assets and opportunities, it just needs someone with a little creativity and balls to get on and exploit it. More fresh blood needed – its time to get serious!