In the glamour and exclusivity stakes, polo has few peers, and a new generation of sponsors is underpinning the sport’s rapidly growing popularity worldwide.
Abu Dhabi’s Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club hosts Pink Polo, backed by Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, to raise awareness of breast cancer, the most commonly diagnosed form of the disease in the UAE.
Bank Julius Baer, which sponsors the Audi Polo Awards (May, London), the Julius Bär Beach Polo Cup (April, Dubai) and the Beach Polo World Cup (May, at the Hörnumer east beach at Sylt, Germany) says polo “combines tradition with drive in a fascinating way. It has for centuries promoted discipline and team spirit among all those who play it.”
Switzerland’s EFG Bank can probably claim to be a pre-eminent polo brand, with its name over the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup, the EFG Bank Aravali Team, the UK High Goal; the Veytay Masters at the lakeside Club between Geneva and Nyon; the Desert Palm Nations Cup, Dubai; the Haryana Polo Club, Delhi; and the Royal Salute Maharaja of Jodhpur Golden Cup.
The Hublot Polo Gold Cup plays in Gstaad every August, under a Banque Baring Brothers banner and since 2001 Berenberg Bank has supported Germany’s Hamburg Polo Club, founded in 1898. The Berenberg Polo-Derby in Hamburg in June is followed by the High Goal Cup in Düsseldorf in July and the Polo-Trophy in Oberursel (Taunus) in September.
Part of the attraction of polo, and sponsorship of it, is because it is so fresh, exclusive and exciting. The undeniable cost of the sport (anything from $20,000 to £2m over a season) requires sponsors with deep pockets. As the game’s popularity increases, maintaining the balance between access and exclusivity will be difficult. The time to enjoy the best of both is now.
Follow InvestmentEurope’s weekly polo blog from 8 April to 7 June at www.investmenteurope.net, in association with MINT Polo in the Park, London.