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SBD Global/July 12, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Louis Vuitton Wants $3M Refund From America's Cup In Wake Of Withdrawals

Longtime America's Cup sponsor Louis Vuitton, the "posh French retailer that has been a primary financial backer of the competition," wants $3M of its spend refunded "because so few teams have entered," according to Eric Young of the S.F. BUSINESS TIMES. A source said that the company's "initial sponsorship" was for $10M. Its contract was "based on at least eight teams taking part in the Louis Vuitton Cup, a round-robin playoff to determine which team will ultimately sail against Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup championship." There currently are "three teams entered into the Louis Vuitton Cup." The source said that Louis Vuitton can get a $1M rebate "for each team less than six that participate." The company has "been a Cup sponsor for 30 years." Louis Vuitton "briefly dropped its sponsorship of the Cup in 2007, saying that commercialism had overtaken the competition." The company then "renewed its sponsorship of the Cup" in '10 after Oracle Racing won the event (BIZJOURNALS, 7/10). In New Zealand, Dana Johannsen noted sponsors have "already had to scale back their hospitality plans after America's Cup officials were forced to revise the racing schedule as part of the list of safety recommendations put forward in the wake of the death of Artemis sailor Andrew Simpson." Louis Vuitton Cup Founder Bruno Trouble said of the brand's sponsorship deal, "There were no provisions for anything less than five because we did not expect that would happen. It is worse than we thought." America's Cup Event Authority CEO Stephen Barclay said that the "bickering and brinkmanship was hurting the sponsors"(NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 7/9).
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