Rolex & Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival Sign 10-Year Multimillion Dollar Show Jumping Deal

7 years ago StraightArrow Comments Off on Rolex & Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival Sign 10-Year Multimillion Dollar Show Jumping Deal
Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com
Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, Florida. © Ken Braddick/dressage-news.com

WELLINGTON, Florida, Nov. 27, 2013–Rolex and Florida’s Winter Equestrian Festival have signed a 10-year multimillion dollar show jumping deal with a $1 million bonus at stake to launch at the 12-week circuit at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center from January through March.

Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) and Rolex SA signed the 10-year sponsorship agreement to make Rolex the “Official Timepiece” of the Palm Beach Center (PBIEC) and of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival.

With the new Rolex sponsorship, total prize money will increase to more than $8 million (€5.9 million) for WEF that draws almost 6,000 horses and 2,000 riders from all 50 American states and more than 30 countries to compete at the world’s largest and longest running horse show.

Under the agreement, three new FEI-rated CSI5* events will be added to the schedule to make five of the 12 weeks of the circuit the highest level in show jumping, as well as a new $1 million (€737,000) Palm Beach Challenge presented by Rolex bonus opportunity.

Another highlight of the deal is that two of the CSI5* Grand Prix events will be televised and many others will be distributed by Rolex through their media partnerships in Asia, Europe and the Americas.

While the new deal does not include for 2014 the companion Global Dressage Festival staged at the same time at PBIEC, ESP said dressage will be evaluated over the winter to determine whether Rolex sponsorship can be expanded. GDF’s seven CDIs made up of four World Cup events, a CDI4*, a CDI5* and a CDIO3* Nations Cup offers prize money of about $530,000 and dovetails with WEF, including both jumping CSI5* and dressage CDI5* events on the same finale weekend.

Mark Bellissimo, the ESP CEO said, “We are honored to be partnered with one of the most respected brands in the world. Through this partnership, we will provide the resources to elevate the level of show jumping for the Americas and expose PBIEC to a broader international audience.”

Arnaud Boetsch, Director of Communications with Rolex, said: “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.”

The dates of the 2014 CSI 5* shows are: WEF 3 Jan. 22-26, WEF 5 Feb. 5-9, WEF 7 Feb. 19-23, WEF 10 March 12-16, and WEF 12 March 26-30. In addition to the five CSI5*s, three CSI4* events, a CSI3* and two CSI2* shows will be held.

WEF weeks 3, 5, 7 and 10 will feature a $300,000 Saturday Night Grand Prix while WEF 12 will feature $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix.

The Palm Beach Challenge presented by Rolex applies to four of the five 5* events and awards a $1 million bonus to any horse and rider combination that wins the four consecutive CSI5* Grand Prix events at WEF 3, 5, 10, and 12. The winner of two consecutive Grand Prix will receive $50,000 and the winner of three of four will receive a $100,000 bonus.

Rolex has also pledged a substantial contribution to the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge presented by Fidelity Investments, an equestrian show jumping competition founded by Mark Bellissimo and his daughter, Paige. The event on Feb. 1 is a competition where the world’s top riders team up with equestrian sport’s most prominent families in a unique competition that awards a sliding scale of prize money to each of 34 randomly selected charities in Palm Beach County.

Rolex has been involved in equestrian sport since 1957 and sponsors some of the world’s premier events, among them the Grand Slam of Jumping that links Aachen. Germany, Geneva and Calgary, Canada.

The 160 acres (64.7Ha) of PBIEC in Wellington includes 16 competition arenas for jumping, hunters and dressage events. The organization is one of three North American bidders for the 2018 World Equestrian Games.