Polo Players Edition

JAN 2019

Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

Issue link: https://polo.epubxp.com/i/1064372

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14 POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N Why the GAUNTLET OF POLO ™ ? By David Cummings, Chairman of USPA Global Licensing, Inc. and Bob Puetz, CEO of United States Polo Association In a recent news release, the United States Polo Association (USPA), USPA Global Licensing (USPAGL) and International Polo Club (IPC) announced a new name, the "GAUNTLET OF POLO ™ ," for a three-part high-goal tournament series: the C.V. Whitney Cup, the USPA Gold Cup ® , and the U.S. Open Polo Championship ® . Why not stay with the Triple Crown of Polo or pick a more traditional name like the USPA Grand Slam, or the USPA World Series, or the USPA National High Goal Challenge, etc.? How did the GAUNTLET OF POLO ™ evolve? Let's start at the beginning. To entrust the sport entirely to USPA member clubs was not advancing USPA's long-term goals. The number of premier clubs is limited. Each has their own priorities. Many struggle to make financial ends meet. It is not reasonable for clubs to be expected to invest in the USPA's larger mission of elevating and growing the game to a national, and even international, audience. The inevitable result would potentially be a decline in attendance, shrinking team entries, USPA media rights, sponsorship value as well as a decrease in overall corporate sponsor interest. The USPA has a responsibility to the sport on a holistic level. To grow its base of members, players, teams, competitions and fans. To deliver value to those same stakeholders, particularly the members. The USPA has the opportunity to capitalize on its position as the sanctioning body to influence the branding and marketing of the events in a manner that enhances USPA as a respected global sports property, while increasing the avidity of the core fan base and elevating the sport to attract new fans. We can learn from the experiences of other professional sports. The USPA is not unlike other governing bodies who have suffered from reduced participation. In looking at successful governing bodies, many are in control of their destiny, and upheaving the status quo, by establishing an owned and controlled "pinnacle event." Examples are the NFL's Super Bowl, the MLB's World Series and All-Star Game, the NBA's Playoffs and All-Star Game, the NHL's Winter Classic events, the NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs and All-Star Race, and the PGA TOUR FedEx Cup Playoffs. The USPA saw an opportunity to do the same by packaging its three "marquee" events into one compelling "pinnacle competition." And there in lies GAUNTLET OF POLO ™ . The catalyst to build this pinnacle competition was ignited when the USPA decided to lower these three tournaments from 26 to 22 goal tournaments. This action presented the USPA with an opportunity to reshape the trajectory of high goal polo in the USPA and increase the growth and interest in the sport. Thus, the development of an innovative sponsorship and partnership with the International Polo Club of Palm Beach (IPC). This new relationship allowed the USPA to resume its proper position as "the leader" in the sport, employ strategies to increase team participation and generate excitement through prize money. After defining the goals and objectives of the new pinnacle competition which were focused on: 1) Advertisement

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