Rolex Announces Million Euro Bonus for New Grand Slam of Show Jumping
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By KENNETH J. BRADDICK
Rolex, the premier sponsor of top equestrian sports for almost six decades, announced Friday creation of €1 million (US$1.3 million) rider bonus for the winner of a new Grand Slam of Show Jumping of three of the world’s leading competitions–Aachen, Germany, Geneva and Spruce Meadows, Canada.
The Grand Slam of the three prestigious events includes the World Equestrian Festival at Aachen, Germany, the Masters at Spruce Meadows, Canada and the CHI in Geneva Switzerland. and was likened to the Grand Slams of tennis and golf.
Aachen announced simultaneously that it was increasing prize money for its Rolex Grand Prix to €1 million (US$1.3 million) effective with the competition the last week of June, Canada’s Spruce Meadows Masters is at C$1 million (US$973,000) while Geneva is raising its Grand Prix prize money to €500,000 (US$650,000) with incremental increases planned for future years.
The bottom line is that the winner of all three Rolex Grand Prix would get the first place slice of all three Grand Prix–the total prize money is split in varying amounts with the top placegetters–plus a €1 million bonus. If a rider wins two events in a row the bonus will be €500,000 (US$650,000) and €250,000 (US$325,000) for two out of three.
The announcement was made at the Finals of the World Cups of Dressage and Jumping which will be the last of Rolex sponsorship of jumping events managed by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) that switched to the rival Swiss watchmaker Longines in a 10-year deal announced earlier this year.
It also coincided with the Rolex Three-Day Event in Kentucky, which is one in the series of four-star events with a similar high-profile format.
The announcement was attended by some of the biggest names in equestrian sport and all of whom have won one or more of the Rolex Grand Prix–Meredith Michaels Beerbaum of Germany, Eric Lamaze of Canada and Steve Guerdat of Switzerland. Isabell Werth, the most decorated dressage rider in history was also there.
The FEI was informed of the announcement of the Grand Slam during the World Cup but no one from the Lausanne, Switzerland-based organization that governs international horse sports showed up. Disappointment was expressed that creation of the Grand Slam that benefits the sport and could increase fan interest was not acknowledged by the FEI. No permssion was required as it is not a series and comprises existing events but packaged in a new presentation.
Michael Mronz of Aachen described the Grand Slam sponsored by the longterm and outstanding partner, Rolex, as opening a “new chapter” in jmping. The spectators attending the three events, media coverage and distribution video and images to 140 nations around the world and size of the purse was “extraordinary.”
In addition to the top riders in the world expected to be attracted to the Grand Prix, two Under-25 riders will be invited to each competition to help develop the sport.
Rolex sponsors numerous equestrian and other sports events around the world, including the Winter Equestrian Festival and the Global Dressage Festival in Wellington, Florida and is also the official timekeeper of the U.S. Equestrian Federation.