October 05, 2009 15:23 ET

IMG and EEM Partner Gucci and the European Equestrian Masters

LONDON--(Marketwire - October 5, 2009) - IMG announced today that it has brokered a deal, in conjunction with European Equestrian Masters, between the International Jumping of Paris and Gucci, who will become the title sponsor of The GUCCI MASTERS.

The GUCCI MASTERS is Gucci's first equestrian sponsorship in more than 20 years and offers a contemporary link to the values, prestige and culture, which represent the Florentine House's historical roots.

First launched in 1921, Gucci has long been associated with and inspired by the sporting glamour of the equestrian world. Various symbols -- from the horsebit to the striped girth strap -- have been appropriated from horse riding and subsequently become iconic signatures on Gucci designs.

"I've been an avid horse rider since I was a child," said Gucci Creative Director Frida Giannini. "It's a pleasure for me to be involved in a program that is as close to my own heart as it is to the rich history of the House of Gucci."

Regis Brunet, Managing Director, IMG France said, "We are thrilled to bring together two such prestigious names. We believe Gucci is a perfect fit for the International Jumping of Paris and will do very well as a title sponsor to the event."

The GUCCI MASTERS debuts in Paris from December 10-13, 2009. This exclusive equestrian event, organized by legendary Brazilian horseman Nelson Pessoa, features an elite gathering of world class show jumpers competing over four days in the Parc des Expositions in Paris-Nord Villepinte.

The exceptional competition will feature 40 of the world's best show jumpers, including the Canadian Olympic champion Eric Lamaze, German-born Marcus Ehning (currently ranked number one worldwide) and Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (the World Cup Winner), Jos Lansink (the World Champion), French-born Kevin Staut (the European champion), and the Italian team (European vice-champions).

The prestigious four day program is comprised of 23 trials including the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final, a traveling competition which is making its premiere in the French capital. The event reaches its climax with the Gucci Grand Prix on Sunday, December 13th. During the course of its four day sponsorship, Gucci will open a temporary retail store on site for visitors to enjoy shopping between the shows, including a limited edition series of scarves, boots and blankets.

IMG Sports Media will distribute The GUCCI MASTERS internationally.

About IMG Sports & Entertainment

Operating in 30 countries, IMG Sports & Entertainment's diverse businesses include: consulting services; event ownership and management; fashion events and models representation; licensing; golf course design; and client representation in golf, tennis, broadcasting, speakers, European football, rugby, cricket, motor sports, coaching, Olympic and action sports. IMG Academies are the world's largest, multi-sport training and educational facilities, delivering world-class training experiences to more than 12,000 junior, collegiate, adult, and professional athletes each year.

About Gucci

Founded in Florence in 1921, Gucci is one of the world's leading luxury fashion brands. With a renowned reputation for quality and Italian craftsmanship, Gucci designs, manufactures and distributes highly desirable products such as leather goods (handbags, small leather goods, and luggage), shoes, ready-to-wear, silks, timepieces and fine jewelry. Eyewear and fragrances are manufactured and distributed under license by global industry leaders in these two sectors. Gucci products are sold exclusively through a network of directly operated boutiques (272 at June 2009) and a small number of selected department and specialty stores.

About European Equestrian Masters

Founded by Christophe Ameeuw and Nelson Pessoa, the living legend of show jumping, European Equestrian Masters is organizing two major CSI5* indoor events, Brussels and Paris. The International Jumping of Brussels relaunched in 2004 has now become one of the best indoor event of the world and hosted the Rolex IJRC Top 10 Final in 2008. European Equestrian Masters will be organizing the CSI5* in Paris and as from 2010 will be managing both Brussels, last week of November, and Paris, first week of December.

About Paris Horse Show

Founded in 1972, it is propriety of the Ceneca along with the Paris International Agricultural Show and its president, Jean-Luc Poulain, is also president of the two shows. The Jumping event, along with the World Arabian Horse Championship (4 - 6/12) and the International Volting Competitions (5 -6/12) are among the most prestigious events of the annual show. The ever increasing 170.000 visitors and over 400 exhibitors have demonstrated their genuine passion to be present at this wonderful and successful gathering, each December.

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