Horse events are getting less and less TV coverage. Equestrian streaming services have tried to replace this, but I have found their coverage to be a bit patchy or just too expensive. Earlier this year, Badminton announced their Badminton TV subscription, allowing you to watch all the action for just £20 a year. Burghley have just announced their own subscription service to watch next months event. But should every event have their own subscription service?
I understand why they are doing it. Due to covid there have been limited numbers allowed on site each of the days. That means a loss of ticket sales. With TV companies and streaming services not showing the sport, they aren’t getting paid for the rights. They recognise that people want to watch it and that this is a way to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. But I can’t help but feel that it isn’t the right way to go around it.
Tickets to the events are expensive. I have spent nearly £100 on tickets to the Cross Country at Burghley this year for 2 people. Add fuel (what has obviously gone up in price) and food for the day, we are easily looking at nearly £200 for the day. And that is before I think about doing any shopping. Everything is going up in price and we are all feeling the pinch. Many people won’t be able to afford to go to Burghley at all this year.
I don’t feel that the subscription price is unreasonable. £20 isn’t a lot in the grand scheme of things. But it all adds up. I want to watch the dressage and the show jumping. I will probably also want to watch the cross country on catch up as you do miss things when you are actually there. But even after spending a lot of money going to Burghley for one day, I have to spend another £20 to watch the rest of it. Should the subscription be included in your event ticket? I think it should be.
I also don’t like how events aren’t linking up. £20 a year for Badminton TV, £20 a year for Burghley TV. Already you are up to £40 a year. What about other events? Are other events going to start launching their own streaming services at £20 a pop? I think the FEI and British Eventing should be doing more to make viewing horse sport more accessible.
They should be pushing free TV coverage. Not only does this allow fans to watch the sport, but it also offers a chance for new people to discover the sport. Something I think the sport really needs. If this isn’t possible, can they include it in other things. Can a subscription be included when you buy a ticket to the event? Can a subscription to eventing streams be included in your British Eventing membership? Can their be an affordable UK subscription service where you can stream all horse sport in one place?
I think ITV has done a fantastic job of the horse racing coverage. I personally feel they do a great job of balancing the sport with making it appealing to a new audience, especially for the big events. I think they could potentially do a good job with other horse sports too, maybe even part of the ITV Hub. Yes it might mean more adverts, especially during dressage breaks, or on holds on the course. But if more adverts means we can watch our sport, surely that is worth it.
I really hope FEI or another UK based governing body starts to do more to keep our sport available to watch.