How The Sport Of Polo Is Becoming A Go-To Engagement Platform

Forbes March 27, 2024


How The Sport Of Polo Is Becoming A Go-To Engagement Platform

Historically polo is depicted as the sport of royalty—and for centuries had the perception of luxury and prestige, reserved for those of “society”. Tracing its origins back before recorded history, to 6th century BC in Persia (Iran), this first stick and ball game also had a wargames period for cavalry, troops, and royal guards. Can’t say that about football. West Point even embraced polo in 1901 with 17 Army posts playing the rough game, with the benefits of enhancing riding, teamwork, strategy, and leadership skills.

Over the years, the game has moved from the royalty/society phase into a mass-market sports platform with millions of fans around the world. There are a lot of moving parts in this competitive team sport played in an arena approximately the size of nine American football fields. In its simplest form, think of it as a ball game played on horseback, or better yet—hockey on horses! And you thought hitting a stationary golf ball was challenging.

U.S. Polo Assn., West Palm Beach FL

Rebooting The Sport Of Kings (And Queens) Into The 21st Century

Today, a transformative reboot is underway for this extreme sport, fueled by a shift in accessibility, strategic partnerships, and the sport-inspired, lifestyle brand, U.S. Polo Assn., which is the official brand of the United States Polo Association (USPA). This means that a portion of revenue from sales of the global brand goes back to the USPA to support the global expansion and future of the historic sport. These two organizations have come together to breathe new life into this ancient game, creating global affiliation opportunities for brands, advertisers, media, fans, and societies.

Not to be confused with the unrelated Ralph Lauren (RL) organization, U.S. Polo Assn has a presence in 190 countries, with 1,200 retail stores, and thousands of wholesale locations spanning department stores, sporting goods channels, independent retailers, and e-commerce sites. They continue to climb the retail ranks as one of the largest global licensed sports brands in the world, ranking consistently alongside the NFL, MLB, and NBA. The brand closed out 2023 with $2.4B in global sales and is targeting $3B and 1,500 retail stores in the next few years.

Building A Lifestyle Sports Media Network

What was once considered a pastime for the affluent is now experiencing a resurgence, captivating new audiences and redefining the sport's image in the modern era. Recent years have brought a concerted effort to make the exciting sport more accessible to a wider audience. A crucial component of this expansion has been strategic partnerships with key players in the sports media landscape, most notably ESPN.

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