Back to the Future – Louis Vuitton Partner With the America’s Cup.

America's Cup - Present, Past and Future

America's Cup - Present, Past and Future

[cleeng_content id=”244365637″ description=”99 cents or 10,000 hours. The path to being an expert can be easy or hard. ” price=”0.99″]It’s only when you see announcements like those from the America’s Cup Authority over the weekend, that you realise the extent to which people cut and paste content into websites. The announcement of Louis Vuitton as a partner for the 34th America’s Cup is not really surprising, and perhaps that’s why most of the press went with the pre-prepared, PR polished paragraphs without feeling the need to add any comment.

Louis Vuitton have announced that their 30 year involvement with the America’s Cup will continue, now that Alinghi and Ernesto Bertarelli is gone. The timing of last weeks announcement by the Swiss team not to compete and the confirmation of Louis Vuitton as partner could be coincidence, but there no love lost between the two parties.

Paul Betts, a guest of LV CEO Yves Carcelle said in the FT:

Yves Carcelle, the dashing and debonair head of Louis Vuitton, invited me to spend a weekend sailing in Dubai on some of the world’s fastest (sic) and most impressive racing boats… Carcelle soon fell out with Bertarelli, disliking his hands-on business approach to the competition. As a result the venerable French luxury company stopped sponsoring the selection of the challenger who would take on the previous winner of the America’s Cup and put an end to its 25-year association with this grand sporting event.

Betts goes on to quote Carcelle directly:

“Thank God that Bertarelli found himself opposed to someone like Larry Ellison,” Carcelle told me over a glass or two of champagne, just before dispatching me for my somewhat fraught Louis Vuitton racing experience. “He [Ellison] has very deep pockets and could afford to pay the lawyers and keep appealing and counter-appealing until he eventually was able to challenge Alinghi with his BMW Oracle catamaran in this year’s contest.”

But looking to the future, the luxury goods brand is looking to become the watch of choice for the Facebook generation. Louis Vuitton will become the Official Timing Partner for the 34th America’s Cup.

Yves Carcelle, Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton Malletier said in the official piece:

“We are thrilled to announce today the continuation of our 30-year partnership with the America’s Cup. Having met with the team several times, we believe that the 34th edition will be the best America’s Cup yet.”

In 2013, the Challenger Series will be staged with the winner earning the right to compete in the America’s Cup Finals. The Challenger series will be once again called the Louis Vuitton Cup, recognizing the brand’s long partnership with the America’s Cup.

So while the cup is looking to innovate and rebrand for the future, the name will stay the same as it has for 30 years. Announcing the deal as if it was some great sports marketing coup, Richard Worth, chairman of the America’s Cup Event Authority said:

“We are extremely priveleged that our vision for the next America’s Cup has attracted the return of a company like Louis Vuitton. The 34th America’s Cup will culminate in 2013, marking the 30th anniversary of Louis Vuitton’s support of the sport of sailing, so we could not be more proud to see this great partnership continue and strengthen.”

The Louis Vuitton Cup will be in the summer of 2013, with the America’s Cup Finals in early fall.

Is the hype to reinvent the America’s Cup all hype? Does the Defender really want to make the America’s Cup a great entertainment event for television that attracts a young audience, or will it slowly revert to normal? Louis Vuitton are on the record as being against sponsors who don’t fit the traditions of the event. In 2007, Bruno Trouble said:

“The day we get a pizza company with its brand on the mainsail of a competing yacht, that is the end of the America’s Cup as it is now,”

The piece in the FT suggests that Louis Vuitton are still of that view. While Russell Coutts and Richard Worth are out selling a commercial package, their new title partner says that the emphasis is on returning the America’s Cup to a “sport-orientated venture rather than a commercial circus”.

Meanwhile, the World Sailing Teams Association (WSTA), which is enshrined in the current protocol for the 34th America’s Cup is reported to be being wound up.

More America’s Cup News.[/cleeng_content]