Rolex has signed a 10-year sponsorship deal with Palm Beach International Equestrian Center — making the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) one of the richest circuits in the world.
The new deal means the 2014 FTI Consulting WEF, held at the centre will now boast five CSI 5* events — with three new ones — and a record 51 FEI ranking classes.
The agreement between Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) and Rolex SA to make Rolex the “Official Timepiece” of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and WEF means an increase in prize money.
A further $1.63m (£1m) has been added to the prize money fund, bringing the total to more than $8 million (£4.9m).
There will also be a new US $1million (£612,000) Rolex bonus — the Palm Beach Challenge.
Any horse and rider combination that wins the four consecutive CSI 5* grand prix events will win the bonus.
Almost 6,000 horses and 2,000 riders attend the Winter Equestrian Festival in Florida.
“We are honored to be partnered with one of the most respected brands in the world,” said Mark Bellissimo, of Equestrian Sport Productions. “Through this partnership, we will provide the resources to elevate the level of showjumping for the Americas and expose Palm Beach International Equestrian Center to a broader international audience.”
Arnaud Boetsch, director of communications of Rolex added: “We are very pleased to extend and expand the scope of our long-lasting and successful partnership with this prestigious venue and the world-class, world-renowned events it hosts. Rolex and Palm Beach International Equestrian Center certainly share a common passion for excellence and perfection.”
In January it was announced that Swiss watchmaker Longines was to take over from Rolex as sponsor of the FEI World Cup jumping series from October 2013.
A long-term sponsorship deal made Longines the FEI’s “top partner” and official timekeeper. Rolex had been the World Cup jumping series sponsor since 2007.
Rolex has since set up its Grand Slam of showjumping — bringing it in line with high-profile sports such as golf and tennis.
This new initiative unites three of the world’s top shows — the CHIO in Aachen, Germany, the CSIO Spruce Meadows Masters Tournament in Canada and the CHI Geneva, Switzerland.
Any rider who manages to win all three grands prix consecutively collects €1,000,000 (£833,000) bonus.
For more information visit: www.equestriansport.com