Sailing and luxury may seem worlds apart, but they have a long-standing and intricate relationship, especially when Louis Vuitton is involved. The luxury brand has recently staked its claim in the sporting arena once again, announcing a strong comeback as title partner of the prestigious America’s Cup Sailing Championship, which will set sail in Barcelona next August.
For those who may have lost track, this isn’t Louis Vuitton’s first America’s Cup rodeo. The world’s most coveted sailing yacht competition had the fashion powerhouse as its main sponsor back in 2017. And let’s not forget the Louis Vuitton Cup, the all-important preliminary race that determines who gets to challenge the defending champion in the America’s Cup. But when the tide turned, Prada stepped in, taking over sponsorship and transforming the Louis Vuitton Cup into the Prada Cup.
And now, after a brief hiatus, Louis Vuitton is back, reclaiming its place in the sailing world with renewed vigor. “It just feels natural that they’re back in the game,” said Grant Dalton, America’s Cup executive director. Indeed, there’s a historical symmetry at play: the America’s Cup dates back to 1851, and Louis Vuitton was founded just three years later in 1854. It’s a partnership that feels as timeless as the organizations themselves.
The question on many lips, of course, is why now? What prompted Louis Vuitton’s return to the competitive sailing scene? The brand is keeping its cards close to its chest, with Pietro Beccari, Chairman and Chief Executive of the company, expressing nothing more than an “immense sense of pride” in returning to the competition as title partner.
Louis Vuitton’s impact on the America’s Cup goes beyond the thrill of the race and the glamour of high fashion. Dalton is confident that this alliance will bring a new wave of attention and appeal to the sport of sailing, especially among the younger generation. Louis Vuitton’s involvement will make the sport more attractive to sponsors, an essential component in the development and growth of any sport. Barcelona will host the event in 2024 between August and October, and anticipation is already building.
Louis Vuitton’s association with the America’s Cup is more than just a sponsorship; it’s part of a broader initiative by Louis Vuitton to establish itself firmly in the world of sport. The brand has created bespoke trophy cases for several major sporting events, including the World Cup, the NBA Finals, the Formula 1 Grand Prix de Monaco and the Rugby World Cup. And true to form, Louis Vuitton will also provide trophy cases for the America’s Cup and the Louis Vuitton Cup.
Louis Vuitton’s influence in the world of sport doesn’t stop at sailing. The brand has made its mark in the Olympic arena, signing a sponsorship deal with the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This partnership will support a cadre of individual athletes, underscoring the brand’s commitment to promoting excellence in sport. From French swimmers to gymnasts and fencers, Louis Vuitton is reaching out to help athletes shine on the world stage.
The luxury brand’s appeal also extends to its star ambassadors, attracting talent from all walks of life. From Spanish tennis sensation Carlos Alcaraz to Chinese-American skiing prodigy Eileen Gu, Louis Vuitton has aligned itself with athletes who embody the brand’s essence of excellence and elegance.
Mr. Dalton, a veteran sailor from New Zealand who is overseeing the competition for Emirates Team New Zealand, the reigning America’s Cup champion, summed it up perfectly. “The Cup is the top of the food chain in our sport. And Louis Vuitton is at the top of the fashion industry. There’s no doubt about it.” Louis Vuitton’s return to the America’s Cup is more than just a sponsorship; it’s a harmonious union of two giants in their respective fields, both at the pinnacle of excellence and prestige.
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