NEWs

Response to the recent calendar challenges

 

We would like to address concerns that have been recently raised, both with us directly and on social media, relating to our fixtures calendar.

The fixtures calendar is the biggest challenge British Eventing faces every year. The team in the background work hard to help keep the calendar as full as possible by working with organisers.

Since the 2024 calendar was initially released, just over a month ago, we have had the following events inform us that they no longer wish to run this season.

  • Weston Park – Week 6
  • Broadway – Week 10 &34
  • Chepstow @ Howick (1) – Week 12
  • Somerford International- Week 18
  • Buckminster Park- Week 19
  • Chilham Castle(2) -Week 22
  • Skipton – Week 23

It should be noted that none of these events ran during the 2023 season and were returning to the calendar for this season.  Also, it is possible that some of these events may still find an alternative date for 2024 or may return to the calendar in 2025. 

On a positive note, we have also added more classes and/or days to the following events due to their popularity:

  • Cirencester (2) – Week 9
  • Northallerton (2) – Week 16
  • Norton Disney (2) – Week 35

Centralised costs increase from British Eventing to Organisers.
In 2022 British Eventing moved the cost of scorers (that we estimate is £1000 per event) to the event organiser. This additional cost could be balanced with the increase of entry fees of 8% for national classes this year alone.

There is also a contribution to the abandonment fund that all organisers will make – this allows them to be covered if they are in the position where they need to abandon – this is significantly less than the cost they would face if they were to insure directly. However, some organisers have decided that they are unable to run without formal insurance, which has increased so considerably that it is deemed to be unaffordable (for example Somerford Park).

The Regional Coordinator role was made redundant in June 2022 because of the financial situations that BE found themselves in; the details of which have been shared publicly already.

Behind the scenes, British Eventing has proactively been liaising with organisers to try and help solve some of their problems with viability. Below are some examples:

Skipton – discussions took place over several months with the organiser of Skipton to try and find dates that would help them move away from the successful food festival also held onsite at the venue, which last year wrecked the ground to the extent that the Horse Trials could not run three weeks later. Unfortunately a suitable date could not be found .

Buckminster Park – discussions with the Organisers of Buckminster Park in relation to their concerns regarding the viability of their event being impacted by other changes at that time of year in the calendar. Buckminster Park has traditionally always run on the same weekend as the longstanding CCI3* & CCI4* fixture, previously run at Barbury, that was run at Aston Le Walls in 2023.  This international fixture has traditionally also run Novice classes to supplement their entries.  Members should be aware that Buckminster Park runs BE90, BE90 Open, BE100, BE100 Open and Novice Open – so faces only one class, Novice, which clashed with Aston Le Walls.

In 2023 Buckminster Park made the decision to cancel their event on ballot date, due to their perceived insufficient entries, which then stood at just over 300 entries. However, at this stage, whilst their entries, across all classes, were lower than in previous years we believe this could also be attributed to the change in entry patterns that was being witnessed at a significant number events in 2023, not necessarily the calendar changes that took place on week 19.

The ballot date is less relevant and last year we witnessed entries being submitted later and later which meant that at ballot date, entries were down for many events due to these changes in behaviour.

We completely understand that change in entry patterns and rising costs causes every organising team significant concern and therefore, dependent on their business model and venue type, an Organiser may have to make the decision not to run (perhaps because of a lack of entries) because their event is not financially viable.  There are various factors which may affect these decisions, for example, whether the venue is a greenfield site which is owned or rented and therefore has no permanent facilities, such as at Weston Park for example.

Broadway The event was confirmed in the final fixture list in December to run in week 10, putting them in a stronger position for entries since the Badminton weekend has moved to week 11 when historically the events would normally run on the same weekend. The Organiser has since decided not to run affiliated events but rather focus on the unregulated market which may add further challenges to the viability of BE events people want to see stay in the calendar.

Rosie Williams, Chief Executive for British Eventing said “The hosting of British Eventing events is challenging, and we are working hard with organisers and stakeholders, it is important to balance the issues that are perceived to be down to British Eventing and those that organisers face that are outside the control of BE such as accommodating eventing into the business model of the landowner particularly in the landscape of pop-up events on greenfield sites. We will over this year being doing a full-scale review of all issues around fixtures management.

“We strongly encourage our members to make their entries as early as possible because delaying entries makes it problematic for Organisers  to make decisions on their events viability.

“In addition, we would like to thank our valued organisers who have been working so proactively with both me and the team in the office to ensure our members have a full calendar to enjoy this season.”

To view the 2024 calendar please click here. 

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