Equestrian Sport Productions and Rolex SA have announced an unprecedented 10-year sponsorship agreement to make Rolex the official timepiece of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and of the world-renowned FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival. The long-term partnership will facilitate a record $1.63 million increase in prize money, bringing the grand total to more than $8 million at the FTI WEF.
Three new CSI***** FEI grand prix events will be added to the schedule, which will mean five of the 12 weeks during the circuit will feature the highest level in show jumping. There will also be a new $1 million bonus opportunity, the Palm Beach Challenge, presented by Rolex.
The dates of the 2014 CSI***** shows are: FTI WEF 3 from Jan. 22-26, FTI WEF 5 from Feb. 5-9, FTI WEF 7 from Feb. 19-23, FTI WEF 10 from March 12-16, and FTI WEF 12 from March 26-30. Weeks 3, 5, 7 and 10 will feature a $300,000 Saturday Night Grand Prix. Week 12 will feature the $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix.
The Palm Beach Challenge will award a $1 million bonus to any horse and rider combination that wins the four consecutive CSI***** Grand Prix events at FTI WEF 3, 5, 10 and 12. The winner of two consecutive grand prix will receive $50,000, and the winner of three of the four will receive a $100,000 bonus.
Rolex's support of FTI WEF will also enable two of the CSI***** grand prix events to be televised, and many others will be distributed by Rolex through their media partnerships in Asia, Europe and the Americas.
Finally, Rolex offered a substantial contribution to the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge, a show jumping competition founded by Bellissimo and his daughter Paige. The event, which occurs on Feb. 1, 2014, 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 the 34 randomly selected charities in Palm Beach County.
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 FTI WEF serves almost 6,000 horses and 2,000 riders from 50 states and more than 30 countries. Mark Bellissimo, CEO of Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC, stated, “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.”
Editor’s note: The Bellissimo family owns The Chronicle of the Horse LLC, and Mark serves as its publisher.