There have been few conversation topics as hot in 2019 as the ongoing discussion surrounding the future of Badminton Horse Trials, which said goodbye to longterm sponsor Mitsubishi Motors this year. Who would pick up the mantle of this most prestigious of events, arguably the godfather of the sport?
As it turns out, nobody — well, not in the way we’ve grown accustomed to, anyway. For 2020, Badminton Horse Trials will run without a title sponsor. Instead, the five-star will team up with two new primary partners — Science Supplements® will take title sponsorship of the grassroots championship, previously known as the Mitsubishi Motors Cup, as well as providing pivotal financial support to the feature event, and MARS Equestrian™, supporters of the Land Rover Kentucky CCI5*, will also join the playbill for the 2020 running.
“We are delighted to welcome both Science Supplements® and MARS Equestrian™ to the Badminton family as Official Event Partners,” said the Duke of Beaufort in an official statement released by the event. “We are extremely grateful for their support and look forward to a long and happy association with both partners.”
The statement continues, “MARS Equestrian™ sponsorship by Mars, Incorporated is the link between their iconic brands including SPILLERS™, PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, MARS® Bar, and the equestrian community. For generations, Mars has celebrated a rich equestrian heritage, and through purposeful partnerships, Mars is committed to equestrian sport and building an enduring legacy.
“MARS Equestrian™ is thrilled to become an Official Partner of Badminton Horse Trials” said William Clements, Vice President of global sponsorships and sports marketing for Mars, Incorporated. “Through this partnership, we hope to honor the equestrian legacy of MARS and engage spectators with our iconic brands as we work to achieve our vision of a better world for horses, pets, and their owners. Mars, Incorporated is a family-owned business that has been creating products and services that people, and their four legged family members, love for over 100 years. Horses are deeply rooted in Mars’ history dating back to the 1930’s.”
“Science Supplements®, who will also become the Official Supplements of Badminton Horse Trials, currently sponsor the BE90 and BE100 series with the final held at Badminton on Tuesday 5th and Wednesday 6th May. Independently rated as the UK’s number one supplement brand. The company has over ten awards and nominations for their products and services including winning the International Innovation Award on two occasions for Gut Balancer (2014) and GastroKind (2017).
“David Mitson, Group CEO of Science Supplements® said, “We are delighted to become partners of one of the worlds finest horse trials and continue our support of equestrian sport across all levels. The Science Supplements® Cup is already a showcase event for grassroots competitors and we are thrilled to be able to extend our relationship with Badminton as official partners.”
“Although it is now unlikely that Badminton 2020 will have a title sponsor in place, the announcement of MARS Equestrian™ and Science Supplements®’partnership with the most prestigious horse trials in the world is significant. “From the outset we have been exploring different sponsorship models and it is fantastic to now have both Science Supplements® and MARS Equestrian™ on board as Official Partners.” commented Event Director Jane Tuckwell.”
Though the dissolution of the Mitsubishi partnership brings with it major changes — the event’s branding, for example, debuted a somewhat contentious makeover earlier this year, and the iconic L200s and red-and-white awnings will cease to hold down the fort upon the Gloucestershire grounds — it also offers the chance for an exciting new era for the world’s foremost CCI5*.
The 2020 Badminton Horse Trials will run from May 6-10, with proceeds from the competition going to newly announced fundraising partner the British Equestrian Federation Fund, which helps to supplement National Lottery funding and support Great Britain’s equestrian teams in Tokyo. The box office will be open for priority bookings on January 6 and general sales on January 13. No word yet on whether there’s going to be a giant chocolate bar to jump by the lake, but there’s really only one way to find out — set those reminders on your phones now, readers.