Rolex to end sailing sponsorship deal

Watch maker Rolex has announced that it will end its sponsorship of the International Rolex Regatta after the 2014 edition of the annual sailing event.

The 2014 event, which is scheduled to run from March 28-30, will be the final edition to be sponsored by Rolex after the company opted to discontinue its annual $200,000 (€146,056) sponsorship of the boat races.

According to the Virgin Islands Daily News newspaper, Rolex will redirect funding for its international events to regional events. As a result, the event will drop the Rolex name from its title and will instead be known as the St Thomas International Regatta.

“Rolex had a change in perspective in terms of their international marketing," St Thomas International Regatta’s director, Bill Canfield, said. “Unfortunately, we were left in the cold.”

Despite Rolex dropping its support, the Virgin Islands Tourism Department confirmed it is to step up its sponsorship activity with the event. “We feel it's important to both the sailing and marine industries for this regatta to continue so we decided to increase our support," tourism commissioner Beverly Nicholson Doty said.