While many riders need no excuse to tune into a livestream to watch the top show jumping athletes of our day duke it out at the FEI level, there are a lot of people who consider themselves sports enthusiasts who are nonetheless pretty lost when they try to watch the upper levels of the sport. Let’s not even start on how many of our friends and family would politely decline an invitation to a 5* Grand Prix viewing party. They would rather spend the weekend watching a football or basketball game - two sports of many that draw far more eyeballs and dollars despite (in our opinion) not being half as exciting to watch.
So what’s the disconnect between the top levels of FEI show jumping and the meager sponsorship and viewership that it rakes in? In this podcast, sport scientist Dr. Tim Worden and grand prix rider Sean Jobin – both of whom have an interest in the sport’s long term health and future – bring forth their 4 ideas for bringing in more funding for the top showjumping competitions, as well as more people viewing them.
In this podcast, Caroline, Sean, and Dr. Worden discuss:
- Proposed updates to the FEI ranking system, and why they would benefit horses, riders, and spectators
- Making horse purchase prices available to the public, and why it would increase interest in watching them go
- How better analytics could engage new fans of the sport
- Updating the current FEI class structure (and why the current structure might not be the best for the sport in the long run)
- Why it matters that show jumping become more interesting for the fans that watch it
- The challenges that come with prize money not increasing in proportion to the expense of the sport