Cape Town - Africa is
witnessing an explosion of interest in polo.
The inauguration of prestigious
polo events and clubs in South Africa and Nigeria, has grown remarkably over
the past 10 years.
Leading polo estates in South Africa such as the Val de Vie
Estate in Cape Town and Waterfall Estate in Johannesburg, as well as Fifth
Chukker in Kaduna, Nigeria, offer the perfect breeding grounds for talented
homegrown amateur and professional players. This means the continent doesn’t
have to rely on visiting players for top-level games to take place.
The “Game of
Kings”, as the sport is dubbed world-wide, is a huge attraction for horse
lovers, fans of the activities around the matches, and for people who want to
connect or be connected as polo provides an incredible networking space.
Over the past
15-20 years, Africa’s growth and prominence in the world of business has
grown significantly and more international business people and polo patrons,
such as Nicky van der Walt, now ensure that South Africa’s involvement with the
sport doesn’t go unnoticed. For this reason, Nigerian polo teams such as Fifth
Chukker and Nigus, have started participating in tournaments hosted in South
The growth in
the sport can be seen through the top-tier sponsorships it’s attracting with
international brands such as LVMH (Louis Vuitton, Moët, Hennessy) aligning
themselves with the sport. Now, South African established brands are also
catching on to this trend and the currently untapped local market.
POLO EVENTS IN SOUTH AFRICA
will see Jo’burg celebrate the sport of kings like it’s never seen it before,
with the launch of the inaugural Cell C Johannesburg Polo Classic (CCJPC)
presented by Julius Bär. This social sporting event will take place on May
8, 2016 and promises a sensational line-up of high-goal polo, fashion,
entertainment and a series of luxury experiences.
“Polo is a
sport with global appeal and is very aspirational. As the fastest growing and
most innovative mobile network operator in South Africa, we hope to share the
lifestyle of polo with many of our Cell C customers, giving them the sense that
they are part of a global community,” says Jose Dos Santos, CEO of Cell C.
new annual event is co-owned by long-standing event partners VIVIDLUXURY (a
luxury brand communications agency) and Val de Vie Events, who are also
co-owners of the popular annual Veuve Clicquot Masters Polo Cape Town amongst
others, and is committed to keep pushing the envelope; offering more cutting
edge events than ever seen before in the local market.
as the Cell C Johannesburg Polo Classic is also the perfect platform to
showcase the best that South Africa has to offer – proving that it can produce
a world-class event that can compete on the international stage. It sends out a
positive message about the country rather than the usual negative reporting
which we so often see on the international broadcast networks” adds
VIVIDLUXURY’s CEO Anina Malherbe-Lan, one of the event co-founders.
LEADING THE FIELD
African polo events can be compared to other international polo events such as
the British Polo Day, as the horses are better trained, the players have more
experience and there are state-of-the-art local facilities. In addition, by
hosting international tournaments such as these, South Africa can also showcase
the country to new audiences, promoting tourism, business and sport. British
Polo Day has also earmarked some dates to host games in South Africa.
Inspired to offer
unique experiences rather than a duplication of what has been seen before, this
polo event dream team is planning a series of interactive experiences on the
day such as Gourmet Culinary Pairing Stations, a Whisky & Watches Lounge, a
Cognac & Backgammon Gentlemen's Library, a Luxury Fashion Emporium, a
Ladies Pamper Lounge and a Super Car Pavilion and more.
also has the ability to raise funds for charity organisations. Sponsorship
investments from big corporations such as Cell C, enable polo event owners to
support charity organisations in both Johannesburg and Cape Town. Prince Harry
and professional polo player Nacho Figueras visited South Africa, where they
played at Val de Vie Estate raising over $1 million for Sentabale Charity
Polo is also
synonymous with a sophisticated lifestyle; drinking champagne, dressing up in
designer gear, driving super cars, and helicopter transfers to the event. But,
the sport is also made accessible to the aspirational market by opening up a picnic
area at events such as CCJPC. So whilst it’s a very exclusive sport, both to
play and attend, the events do not exclude a younger audience that is not
necessarily interested in VVIP Hospitality. So for R350, one can
have a picnic on the grass, buy food from luxury food trucks and enjoy the
magic of the sport.