Beginning in 2018, The Global Champions League will introduce a team playoff format that will see an unprecedented €10 million in prize money.
The playoffs will be staged in the Czech Republic’s capital city of Prague, promising unforgettable excitement for millions of equestrian fans worldwide.
The “City of a hundred spires” will premiere the thrilling new format for team show jumping from December 13-16, 2018 at the dynamic O2 arena, which can host approximately 14,000 spectators. It will be the first indoor event on the Longines Global Champions Tour and Global Champions League calendar.
“Our mission is to continue innovating and growing show jumping towards an ever more healthy and sustainable future like other sports in the modern era. That is what we have been about from the beginning to make sure the sport keeps moving ahead in the interests of riders, fans, owners, sponsors and media,” commented Jan Tops, co-founder of the Global Champions League and President of the Longines Global Champions Tour.
“Along with the strengths of the Longines Global Champions Tour and the regular GCL team circuit, the new League playoffs will be unique in show jumping and the exciting format will attract more fans and new audiences.”
Together with Title Partner and Official Timekeeper Longines, the Tour has continued to grow and innovate over its 12 year history, delivering world class show jumping in breathtaking destinations around the globe. The Global Champions League added a thrilling new dimension to the sport in 2016 with top riders from different countries teaming up for the first time.
The introduction of the playoffs in 2018 will see a roller-coaster of eliminations, upsets and glory as teams battle through the quarter final, semi-final and final stages. The winning team alone will take home €3 million – part of the historic prize purse for a single event in show jumping.
The format will dramatically raise the stakes at every stage of the regular GCL team championship, with even more tension building at the November season finale in Doha, Qatar. Only the 16 best teams from the 2018 season will qualify for a place at the playoffs. The top four teams will automatically be fast tracked directly to the play off semi-finals.
Next year the combined overall prize money for the Longines Global Champions Tour individual series, the Global Champions League regular season and the new play offs will be €35 million.
GCL has seen more leading riders and star horses join teams in 2017. Teams include Under-25 riders as part of the strong focus on the development of young talent and future stars. The line up for the third season of the GCL will also include the new home city Prague Lions team.
Team tactics and strategic changes to riders and horses during the 2017 GCL competitions have already added fresh energy to the sport. The easy-to-follow new playoffs will produce more entertaining stats and graphics for fans with expert commentary for digital viewers and new technical innovations to enhance the fan experience.
Further details will be announced soon, including information on the 2018 season.