MIAMI, Fla. — The Global Champions League will feature a new lineup of 19 teams for the start of the 2018 season.
During an intense off-season period, team owners and managers have been battling to sign up star strikers and talented youngsters to boost their firepower for the third year of the GCL. This year, a guaranteed overall season prize purse of €35 million will be paid out to the world's best individual and team riders. This includes €12 million to be shared at the new GC Prague playoffs Dec. 13-16.
The New York Empire team is headed up by team anchor Georgina Bloomberg (USA), the black, burgandy and white squad brings together Olympic Gold Medallist Scott Brash (GBR), Irish hero Cian O'Connor (IRL), German talent David Will (GER) and U25 superstar Lillie Keenan (USA).
This GCL season will welcome the new Miami Celtics — an all American-Irish line up with some of the hottest names in the sport. Anchored by Denis Lynch (IRL) and American superstar Jessica Springsteen, the GCL welcomes Shane Breen (IRL), Cameron Hanley (IRL) and U25 rider Michael Duffy (IRL) to the Championship.
Sixteen action-packed events in the regular season will culminate in the team and individual finals in Doha, Qatar, this November. This year, the pressure will be more intense than ever in the battle to earn a golden ticket to the GC Prague playoffs.
With 19 teams competing throughout the 2018 season, only 16 will qualify for the GCL Super Cup at the GC Prague playoffs. The Czech capital will also see every individual Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) grand prix winner invited to the prestigious Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix — the ultimate showdown starring the season's top performers.
This year's GCL sees 90 percent of athletes (excluding the U25 competitors) ranked in the top 250 in the world, as of Sept. 1, 2017, including 25 out of the top 30. In addition, 25 percent of the total athletes taking part in the GCL this season are aged under 25.
Fans around the world will be able to watch all of the sporting drama unfold on the official GC TV live streaming platform with expert insights and analysis from the live studios, thrilling commentary, exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews and features with the top athletes and their horses.
GC TV will continue to innovate and elevate the viewing experience with new graphics and technology, such as the immersive 360-degree experience in 2017, to take fans backstage with the stars at the extraordinary LGCT events around the world.
Strategy will be more important than ever in the high stakes 2018 season as teams decide which rider-and-horse combinations to field at the different events on the circuit.
This year, team riders will start consecutively, one after the other, quickly showing fans the total team result — adding to the tension and excitement as the following teams set their sights on the target to beat in the 1.55m/1.60m GCL competitions.
The 2018 season will kick-off in Mexico City, Mexico, March 22-25, where teams will reveal who they'll select to play up front in the crucial first round of the circuit.
For the full team list, see https://www.globalchampionsleague.com/teams/
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