As if any more proof was needed that finding backing for sport is still difficult, the news of the cancellation of the 2013 edition of the St Moritz Match Race shows that perhaps even the luxury market is not immune to a continued squeeze on commercial sponsorship budgets in Europe.
The event, which was founded in 2003 by the late Roni Pieper in the wake of Alinghi’s first America’s Cup victory, is part of the Alpari World Match Racing Tour, which has been reduced to just seven events in 2013.
Beryl Pieper, President of the St. Moritz Match Race organising committee said in a statement:
“We are very sad to have to make this decision. We sincerely hope to be back in 2014 with a new elite international event for our beautiful region of Engadin. The St. Moritz Match Race has become a favourite among the international fleet of champions competing on the Alpari World Match Racing Tour each year, both for the hospitality and the quality of the racing. This event allowed us to put St. Moritz and Engadin on the international sailing map.”
The St. Moritz Match Race’s ‘King of the Mountain’ title has been won by some of the world’s best match racers, including Ed Baird, Mathieu Richard, Torvar Mirsky, Adam Minoprio and Ian Williams.
The World Match Racing Tour operates on a different model to many sailing events around the world where each event is an independent organisation operating under the umbrella of the tour. While the tour has added the USA and Netherlands to it’s calendar in recent years, it has also lost events in Portugal, France and now Switzerland.
“This is obviously disappointing news for the Tour. The St Moritz Match Race has always been a popular event with sailors and guests, and we are working closely with the organisers to ensure the return of the event to the Tour next year.”
The 2013 Alpari World Match Racing Tour season begins in Germany on the 15th of May.