March 3, 2006 — The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) and Las Vegas Events, Inc. (LVE) jointly announced on March 1 that the FEI World Cup Finals in both show jumping and dressage will return to the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, April 18-22, 2007. This will mark the fourth time that Las Vegas hosts the FEI World Cup Finals and the second time ever, following the initial time in Las Vegas in 2005, that the world’s premier annual championships in the two Olympic equestrian disciplines are held concurrently.
“The FEI World Cup Finals were an incredible success for the destination,” said Pat Christenson, president of Las Vegas Events. “The combination of show jumping and dressage proved to be captivating for American fans, as well as for those from around the globe. We eagerly anticipate the return of the Finals to Las Vegas in 2007, and our goal will be to surpass the success that we enjoyed in 2005.”
In April 2005, the FEI Budweiser World Cup Jumping Final and the FEI World Cup Dressage Final, presented by Offield Farms, were held simultaneously in the same location for the first time in history. During the five-day competition, 90,221 fans attended the Finals. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, the event had a non-gaming economic impact of $19.2 million.
Individuals representing 13 countries and all 50 of the United States purchased tickets for the Finals, bringing a true international feel to the weekend’s competition. Approximately 93 percent of the tickets were sold to individuals who reside outside of Nevada.
The Finals also received worldwide television coverage including domestic telecasts on NBC and OLN.
The success of the event in 2005 precipitated the selection of Las Vegas as the host in 2007.
“The 2005 FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas changed the perception of equestrian sport in the United States,” said John Long, CEO of the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). “It was spectacular, and it was a standing room only crowd. The USEF is thrilled to have the dual FEI World Cups back in Las Vegas in 2007.”
Las Vegas’ presentation of both show jumping and dressage also proved to be a huge hit with the riders. “I don’t think our sport has ever been so well received as it was at the FEI World Cup Finals in Las Vegas,” said 2003 FEI World Cup Dressage champion Debbie McDonald of Hailey, Idaho. “I believe that the Finals in Las Vegas were a real watershed moment for our sport.”
Started in 1979, the FEI World Cup Jumping Final is an annual international showdown among the world’s best show jumping horses and riders. Approximately 45 riders qualify from 13 leagues around the world. In the 27 finals held through 2005, United States riders have emerged with the most titles, having won the championship seven times. The 2006 FEI World Cup Jumping Final is being held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 2007 event will mark the seventh FEI World Cup Jumping Final to be held in the United States.
First held in 1986, the FEI World Cup Dressage Final has been held in the U.S. only twice, in 1995 in Los Angeles and 2005 in Las Vegas. The Netherlands has dominated the competition, winning seven titles, followed by Germany with six. The United States won its first title in 2003 when Debbie McDonald rode Brentina to the championship. Brentina is owned by Parry and Peggy Thomas of Las Vegas, for whom the Thomas & Mack Center is named. The 2006 FEI World Cup Dressage Final is being held in Amsterdam in The Netherlands.
Ticket renewals for the 2007 FEI World Cup Finals will begin on April 1 this year. Members of the World Cup Club can purchase priority seating starting on May 16. Interested fans can sign up for club membership at the official website. Tickets will be available to the public on June 1.