They are worlds apart in many ways, but London, England, and Omaha, Nebraska have entered the process to host the World Cup finals for both dressage and jumping.
Omaha is the largest city in the Midwestern state of Nebraska, and with a population of about 410,000 people, it is the USA’s 42nd-largest city.
By contrast, London is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom, and the most populous region in the UK and in the European Union, with 8.3 million residents.
London’s O2 Arena, which was renamed the North Greenwich Arena for the Olympic and Paralympic events staged there during London 2012, is the proposed venue for the British bid for the joint finals in 2017. The Century Link Center, which hosts sports events and concerts, has been put forward as the venue in Omaha, Nebraska for the US double bid.
The Century Link Centre recently hosted The International Horse Show, billed as the premier indoor equestrian show jumping event in the US. This year it has also hosted Jon Bon Jovi, Carrie Underwood, Justin Bieber, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and American Idol auditions.
O2 general manager Rebecca Kane said the prospect of hosting both finals would be fantastic for both the venue and London. “The success we enjoyed in hosting both Olympic and Paralympic events here in 2012 showcased the diversity of The O2 as a world class music and sport venue. There is still a long way to go, but we would look forward to evaluating the London bid with the British Equestrian Federation and HorsePower, having proven expertise through events such as Olympia, The London International Horse Show.”
An expression of interest carries no liability in terms of whether a formal bid is, or not submitted next year. If the initial expression of interest is accepted by the FEI, sports and entertainment presenter AEG and the BEF will be provided with the FEI’s Host Agreements and these will allow a detailed study to take place regarding the costs and viability of a formal bid, which will need to be completed by Easter 2014.
Andrew Finding, Chief Executive of the BEF, added: “The Longines FEI World Cup Jumping and FEI World Cup Dressage Finals have established themselves as one of the FEI’s most prestigious annual championships. To bring them to The O2, under the guidance of AEG, would be a fantastic opportunity for the British public to see high level equestrian sport in an iconic British venue. AEG is a global operation that has established itself as a market leader in hosting sporting events. In the new year the detailed work will start to ensure that a bid is viable.”
Two other venues have put in bids to host just one final, with Hong Kong (HKG) putting in a bid for the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final and ‘s-Hertogenbosch (NED) bidding to host the FEI World Cup Dressage Final.
AsiaWorld Expo, venue for the Longines Hong Kong Masters and which is situated next to Hong Kong International Airport, is the venue proposed for the Jumping Final. Indoor Brabant, which hosted the double FEI World Cup Finals in 2012, has been put forward as the venue for the Dressage Final.
In other bidding news, the FEI has received bids for the senior FEI European Championships in 2017. Gothenburg (SWE) has applied to host Jumping, Dressage, Para-Dressage and Driving (Four in Hand), Rotterdam (NED) has put in a bid to host the Jumping, and there are two bids to host the Eventing Championships, one from Strezgom (POL) and one from Fontainebleau (FRA).
“It is gratifying that our key events are attracting such strong interest from bidders,” FEI Secretary General Ingmar de Vos said.
“We have got a very impressive portfolio that includes the FEI World Equestrian Games, our FEI series and the Championships. It’s testament to the value of these events that so many countries are vying to host them.”
Allocation for all these events will be made during the FEI in-person Bureau meeting in June 2014.