Polo is a team sport played on horseback. The objective is to score goals against an opposing team. Players score by driving a small white ball into the opposing team’s goal using a long-handled mallet. Polo originates from ancient Persia and Its invention is dated from as far back as 6th century BC.
Polo is a sport with global appeal that has a high barrier of entry. Unlike most mainstream sports that simply require a field and a ball, polo calls for a horse, which instantly disqualifies those without the necessary components in order to play.
Also, the elite gravitate toward the sport precisely because of this exclusivity. Discussing and playing polo acts as a kind of status currency, with the most popular participants given the opportunity to groom not only their horse but their social standing.
Luxury brands from around the world also stand to gain a certain social standing by displaying an affinity for polo, not only because it reaches a concentrated audience, but also because it boosts reputation among this preferred clientele.
“The athletes playing polo are almost always affluent,” said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami, FL. “The affluence attracts those who desire to be affluent.”
The International Polo Club in Wellington, FL, has found that its matches gain popularity among wealthy custumers from around the world who embrace the not only the sport but the lifestyle that comes along with it.
The Club has partnered with many luxury marketers including Maserati, Veuve Clicquot, Four Seasons Resort Palm Beach and Piaget. The organization strives to provide a superior lifestyle for its targeted consumers in its limited invitation-only membership
Luxury brands often choose to sponsor isolated events so their name is tied to something exclusive. During one tournament, Maserati had its entire range of vehicles on the grounds acting as continual reminders that the brand was present and drawing the interest of attendees.
Other brands adopt players or entire teams to show their commitment to the sport. Swiss watchmaker Jaeger-LeCoultre targeted affluent watch enthusiasts in the emerging Latin American market.
The Argentine Polo Open in Palermo is the oldest polo tournament in the world, having just celebrated its 120th anniversary a few years ago. During the Argentine Polo Open of Palermo Jaeger-LeCoultre acted as official sponsor and official timekeeper for all matches, which was no small accomplishment for any brand.
According to Ramey, “It is a sexy sport, and between sex, affluence, youth and the exotic nature of the sport, it’s very attractive to brands who want to exude these qualities.”