Is polo nerdy ?

21 July 2008 – 9:32 am

Malcolm @ Pampas Plains invited me to the Gold Cup @ Cowdray Park this weekend. His business had a ‘steak’ concession at the one day event.

Malcolm has an online food business and supplies some major restaurants around London and overseas. For his venture, being a supporter of polo makes sense. An Argentine related beef business and polo go together like a mallet and ball.

For some of the other exhibitors and sponsors, I am not sure of the true value.

The premium end brands, are I imagine, looking for rich punters to buy their wares, but these people go straight to the hospitality and likely have people to do their shopping.

A more likely sales target on the day is a drunk young toff. Great in ten years, when their banking job coughs up a few pounds/euros/dollars/yen, but not so useful for short term sales.

Polo has a high end premium image. Outside of the team owners, patrons and their guests, the demographic is harder to measure. Polo’s move in the UK and Continental Europe to become more mainstream, means opening up to an element that does not necessarily have a bottomless bank account.

Are more numbers at the dilution of quality, really what the sport is looking to achieve ?

The commercialisation of the Cartier event and widespread publicity is a good example. Many aficionados now stay away.

My question is, has polo become nerdy and trashy. Or, is this what the sport must do to survive in the 21st Century ?

  1. 4 Responses to “Is polo nerdy ?”

  2. Good points Xav:

    Others to add:

    • The footfall at these events are relatively small compared to a larger event/ conference
    • I think the types who go to polo as well as being ‘monied’ are also switched on – they are not prepared to pay for over-priced items: especially clothing.

    By Chris McG on Jul 21, 2008

  3. @Chris. Good points too. Many of the affordable items, trade on the prestige of polo, to add to their high-end image.

    By Xavier on Jul 21, 2008

  4. Hi Xavier, I am the guy who gets together the “shopping village” at the Gold Cup at Cowdray, and at other major polo fixtures.

    You wonder if polo gives “true value” to the companies that exhibit there. The answer is that it seems it must do, because around 70% of the companies return to exhibit each year. I can only assume that they do so because they are getting some financial benefit out if it.

    You suspect that”people go straight to the hospitality”: of the 15,000 people at the Gold Cup that you attended, a mere 600 are being entertained in hospitality tents, so even if they never emerged (which of course they do), that would leave an awful lot of others to do the shopping!

    You are quite right that among the polo audience are wealthy guys who”have people to do their shopping.” That is precisely why the event works so well for exhibitors – it is a chance to meet those people, who indeed never go down the high street or perhaps even shop online.

    As for the “young toffs”, a great deal of them are already commanding incomes that leave them with plenty to dispose of, since they don’t have family or other commitments yet. Yes, we have (satisfied) exhibitors selling helicopters or high-end jewellery, looking for “bottomless bank accounts”, but others are selling at a more normal level.

    And of course Malcolm’s wonderful beef and a glass of Argentine wine helps the atmosphere greatly… Richard

    By Richard Hodgson on May 30, 2009

  5. @Richard, thank you for your long and thoughtful comment. Good luck for the 09 season. Unfortunately I can’t make the Ambassador’s Cup this weekend with Malcolm, as it is a friend’s wedding.

    By Xavier on Jun 1, 2009

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