French luxury goods giant Louis Vuitton announced Friday it will no longer sponsor the America's Cup, citing concerns the sailing event has become too commercial.
Vuitton has sponsored the Cup since 1983, when the challengers' series became known as the Louis Vuitton Cup.
"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 significant reduction in the number of participating teams," Vuitton said in a statement Friday.
"In these conditions, Louis Vuitton has decided not to lend its name to the next Challenger selection series."
Michel Hodara, chief operating officer of the America's Cup,says Vuitton's decision"changes nothing" regarding plans for the coming event.
"It's unfortunate that Louis Vuitton could not appreciate the success won over from the 32 America's Cup and its great gains in the public," Hodara said."Now we will simply have to find a partner that shares the same values of the Cup and this sport."
The Cup is the oldest competition in international sports.