Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) and Rolex SA signed an unprecedented 10-year sponsorship agreement to make Rolex the “Official Timepiece” of the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) and of the world-renowned FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). The FTI WEF serves almost 6,000 horses and 2,000 riders from 50 states and over 30 countries.
The long-term partnership will facilitate a record US $1.63 million dollar increase in prize money bringing the grand total to over US $8 million dollars at the FTI WEF, making it one of the richest circuits in the world. Three new FEI-rated CSI 5* events will be added to the schedule, which will make five of the 12 weeks during the circuit at the highest level in Show Jumping. There will also be a new US $1 million Palm Beach Challenge presented by Rolex bonus opportunity.
Another highlight of the association is that two of the CSI 5* Grand Prix events will be televised and many others will be distributed by Rolex through their media partnerships in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
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.”
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 dates of the 2014 CSI 5* shows are: FTI WEF 3 from January 22-26, FTI WEF 5 from February 5-9, FTI WEF 7 from February 19-23, FTI WEF 10 from March 12-16, and FTI WEF 12 from March 26-30. In addition to the five CSI 5* shows, there are three CSI 4* events, a CSI 3*, and two CSI 2* shows during the circuit.
FTI WEF weeks 3, 5, 7, and 10 will feature a US $300,000 Saturday Night Grand Prix. FTI WEF 12 will feature the US $500,000 FTI Consulting Finale Grand Prix.
The “Palm Beach Challenge presented by Rolex” applies to four of the five 5* events and awards a US $1 million bonus to any horse and rider combination that wins the four consecutive CSI 5* Grand Prix events at FTI WEF 3, 5, 10, and 12. The winner of two consecutive Grand Prix will receive US $50,000 and the winner of three of four will receive a US $100,000 bonus.
Finally, Rolex offered a substantial contribution to the FTI Consulting Great Charity Challenge (GCC), presented by Fidelity Investments, an equestrian Show Jumping competition founded by Mark Bellissimo and his daughter Paige. The event, which occurs on February 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.