Louis Vuitton returns to America’s Cup in expanded role

French luxury goods giant Louis Vuitton is returning to the America’s Cup, this time as presenting sponsor of the match as well as title sponsor of the America’s Cup World Series and the challenger eliminations.

Louis Vuitton, who had been sponsoring the challengers’ trials since 1983, pulled out over concerns that the sailing event had become too commercial.

“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,” the company said in a statement on July 13, 2007.

“In these conditions, Louis Vuitton has decided not to lend its name to the next Challenger selection series.”

After Oracle Racing won the 33rd America’s Cup for the Golden Gate Yacht Club in the 2010 Deed-of-Gift race against Alinghi, Louis Vuitton again sponsored the challenger series for the 34th America’s Cup which was held in 2013 on San Francisco Bay.

Some had questioned whether the luxury goods company would return for 2017 in Bermuda after a star-crossed regatta in 2013 in San Francisco.

The sponsorship arrangement was announced on May 27.

The Luis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series begins in Portsmouth, England, July 23-26.

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