LVMH keen to establish sporting credentials ahead of Paris Olympics

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Translated by

Nicola Mira

Published



Nov 4, 2023

LVMH is currently ubiquitous in major sporting events, from the Rugby World Cup to the America’s Cup and the Ballon d’Or Award, alongside football stars and Olympic champions. In the last few weeks, the luxury giant has announced several new sport sponsorship deals made by its leading labels, seeking to maximise their visibility in the sporting world ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games, of which LVMH is a premium partner. And with the goal of strengthening the group’s image as a winner in all arenas.

French Olympian Pauline Déroulède, LVMH’s latest brand ambassador – Dior © Nelson Rosier

LVMH has for a long time been a key sponsorship partner to the sporting world, notably supplying trophy cases for some of the most prestigious sporting competitions, made by trunk-maker Louis Vuitton, but also with classic kit sponsorship deals for various top teams, and above all individual football and basketball stars, who have replaced celebrities among runway show guests. But this autumn, LVMH’s sponsorship announcements are coming thick and fast, like never before. The latest deal, announced on Thursday November 2, is between Christian Dior and French wheelchair tennis player Pauline Déroulède, chosen by the label as its brand ambassador for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

In July, LVMH announced it had become one of the Paris Games’ premium partners. The value of the sponsorship was not disclosed, though it is estimated to be in the region of €150 million. LVMH is one of the event’s seven premium French partners, alongside Accor, the BPCE group, Carrefour, EDF, Orange and Sanofi. The luxury giant is keen to maximise the sponsorship’s returns, tapping the event’s global resonance, especially the opening ceremony’s, which for the first time might not be held inside a stadium but along the river Seine’s banks, in the heart of the French capital.

Right from the start, LVMH has made it plain it wants to play a central role. “Between now and the opening ceremony, as agreed with the organising committee, the group and its labels – notably Louis Vuitton, Dior and Berluti – will reveal the various facets of their partnership, which will allow LVMH to be the ‘Artisan of all victories’,” the group stated in July. Other LVMH labels will be involved, like jeweller Chaumet, which will design the medals, beauty chain Sephora, which will feature in the Olympic torch relay, and champagne producer Moët Hennessy, involved in hospitality initiatives.

Meanwhile, various LVMH labels have chosen French Olympians as brand ambassadors. Déroulède, Dior’s latest ambassador, is the fourth athlete chosen by the group’s labels. In early October, Dior picked another ambassador, four-time European artistic gymnastics champion Mélanie de Jésus dos Santos, while Louis Vuitton signed up three-time world swimming champion Léon Marchand, and Guadalupe-born fencer Enzo Lefort, a multi-medal winner in foil.

With these Olympic sponsorships, LVMH wants to reach a similar level as the event’s worldwide partners, multinationals like Coca Cola and Visa. By choosing sport as a communication vehicle, the group is also highlighting the value of success, drawing a parallel between corporate achievements and sporting performance. It is also a way to give voice to the group as a fully fledged entity, and to put its name centre-stage, a space usually occupied by its labels. Finally, partnering the Olympics gives Bernard Arnault the chance to prove that his group is present in all the world’s most prestigious events.

This year, Louis Vuitton has partnered the Ballon d’Or (Golden football) award for the first time – AM+PM@Artlist

It may not have been purely by chance then that Louis Vuitton, the flagship label of Bernard Arnault’s group, announced in September it would link up again with the Rugby World Cup 2023, staged on French soil, supplying the official case for the trophy awarded on October 28. Then, Louis Vuitton announced it was again – after a seven-year hiatus – a partner of the America’s Cup, the historic sailing competition, whose 37th edition will be held in Barcelona in 2024. The competition’s qualification match races will again be called the Louis Vuitton Cup. The French label will manufacture the Louis Vuitton Cup trophy and its case, as well as the case for the Auld Mug, the silver ewer awarded to the America’s Cup winner.

Louis Vuitton produces the trophy cases for many other famous sporting events, among them those for the Football World Cup, the Monaco F1 Grand Prix, the Davis Cup and the Roland Garros tennis tournament. Only a few days ago, the label unveiled its first collaboration with the Ballon d’Or (Golden football), the trophy awarded each year to the world’s best football players.

The Ballon d’Or, in its monogrammed case handmade by Louis Vuitton’s artisans, was awarded on October 30 at a gala evening where most of the global football stars present were dressed by LVMH labels. Like the men’s winner, Lionel Messi, dressed by Louis Vuitton, and Kylian Mbappé and David Beckham, both wearing Dior dinner jackets.

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