FEI expects over CHF30m in commercial revenues in 2020

Action from Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup Final in Barcelona (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has budgeted a total of CHF30.2m (€27.1m/$30m) in commercial revenues in 2020, with the lion’s share continuing to stem from sponsorship agreements.

Outlining the figures to delegates at the FEI General Assembly in Moscow, the FEI provided a breakdown of CHF27.1m (or 89.7 per cent) from sponsorship revenue and CHF3.1m (10.3 per cent) from broadcast revenue.

Should the revenue figure be achieved, then it would represent a breaching of the CHF30m barrier once again, with the Lausanne-based international federation having last done so in 2018, when CHF31.4m was generated.

A revised commercial revenue figure of CHF28.8m for 2019 was also provided at the General Assembly.

The jump from 2019 to 2020 is attributed mainly to the new FEI Jumping World Cup North American League sponsorship contract with Longines, the Swiss watch manufacturer that is also the FEI’s top partner. In June, Longines extended its agreement as title sponsor of the series, which features events held across Canada, Mexico and USA.

In 2013, Longines provided a substantial boost to the FEI commercial revenue streams when it came on board as official top partner in a long-term deal.

New sponsorship agreements signed this year have also boosted the budgeted commercial revenues in 2020. These include the addition of Horse Pilot as apparel supplier, Cavalor as official nutrition partner and Peden Bloodstock as equine logistics partner.

The trio of new sponsors sit among the nine FEI partners beneath Longines and alongside ATPI Sports Events, Boehringer Ingelheim, Jet Set Sports, Otto Sport, Pixio and SAP.

Under the guidance of commercial director Ralph Straus, the FEI implemented a new ‘7 Sports’ strategy in 2017, developing a unique brand for each of the seven equestrian sport disciplines.

A total of CHF23.2m in commercial expenses have been budgeted for 2020, comprised of CHF16.8m in sponsorship expenses, CHF5.9m in broadcast expenses and just under CHF500,000 in “other” marketing expenses, including licensing and the FEI’s online shop.

Broadcast expenses are budgeted to rise by just over CHF1m, largely due to a broadcasting time buy commitment with Longines as part of the North American League sponsorship.

The FEI’s production contract with the IMG agency expires in the middle of 2020 but, in the meantime and pending the results of negotiations, the same level of production cost has been budgeted as for the first six months. Production elements introduced this year included live spidercam coverage.

Broadcast expenses also include the spend on content production for the FEI website, social media channels and app.

The FEI informed national associations in attendance at the General Assembly of a 32-per-cent year-on-year rise in broadcast viewership for the 2018-19 FEI Jumping World Cup. This was in part due to a new strategy of providing customised news clips to broadcasters to heighten distribution in various territories. Global viewership for the FEI Dressage World Cup increased by 21 per cent. Going forwards, the FEI is targeting improved distribution in markets such as China, India and North America.

Information on the audited 2018 accounts was also provided by the FEI in Moscow, including broadcast revenues of CHF3.54m, a figure that was CHF177,000 over budget, and “positively affected” by FEI TV. The federation’s OTT subscription service generated CHF1.87m in revenues (CHF415,000 above budget).