Louis Vuitton Ends Relationship With America's Cup

The sponsor of the challenger selection series since 1983 ends its involvement with sailing's grandest competition.

Among the poorly kept secrets in Valencia during the 32nd America's Cup--and there were quite a few of them--was the fact that Louis Vuitton and America's Cup Management/Alinghi were not getting along and that if Alinghi successfully defended the Cup, Louis Vuitton, which has sponsored the challenger selection series since 1983, would not return.Today a press release issued by the French luxury goods manufacturer confirmed that rumor. Louis Vuitton has ended it's relationship with the America's Cup, though the company did state that it hasn't ruled out a return to the competition in the future. The press release read as follows:Louis Vuitton, founded in 1854, just three years after the original America's Cup race, has since charted a course parallel to that of the world's oldest sporting trophy.The French luxury house became, in many ways, the "guardian" of the Cup, lending its name to the official challenger selection series, the Louis Vuitton Cup.In organizing this prologue to the America's Cup, Louis Vuitton contributed over more than 20 years to the international reputation and aura of the competition.Values of elegance, friendship, loyalty and exclusivity, a unique blend of tradition and innovation, also set the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup apart in the world as events that combined sporting excellence and art de vivre.The new America's Cup rules define a more commercial approach, and the signed protocol has already been questioned by some of those concerned. Indeed, there is a risk of a significant reduction in the number of participating teams.In these conditions, Louis Vuitton has decided not to lend its name to the next Challenger selection series. It will follow with interest the future development of the competition, while not excluding the possibility of reviving the Louis Vuitton Cup in another form.Many people have contributed to the success of this very special event. To all of them, for their support, friendship and commitment, Louis Vuitton offers its warmest thanks.