Polo is the opportunity waiting to be ridden- Soniya Singh, Empress Polo
A great fit for brands in the luxury segment, Polo is a sport that has long been associated with regality. With the emergence of privately owned teams and platforms, the sport is bidding to become accessible beyond the confines of royalty and army. The Maharaja Sir Pratap Cup in its second edition, organized by Empress Polo indicates a promising future for the ‘sport of kings’ in India.
Played on a horseback, polo is a team sport with 4 players each trying to drive a small ball into the opposing team’s goal using a long handled mallet. The sport is seen in line with privilege and lineage, reasons to have restricted its development from an elite sport to one with mass appeal.
The launch event of the 2nd Maharaja Sir Pratap Cup took place at lawns of The Lodhi hotel in New Delhi on 1 November. The event was organized by Empress Polo in association with BW Businessworld and curated by Nimit Mehta. The event was managed by Gloria World and R2S Event.
“I feel that creating innovative experiential value around an event is extremely important”, says Soniya Singh from Empress Polo. She explains, “The key is to keep the audience engaged by creating peripheral activities whilst maintaining the focus on the game and retaining its seriousness. Currently the community of game-enthusiasts is limited therefore to expand our reach we figured it is imperative to increase the scope of activities. Therefore as far as reach goes we have not restricted ourselves to only those who are acquainted with the sport but have tried to engage and generate interest among those outside the fence.”
After a week of revelry from the day of the launch event, the tournament finals took place at the Jaipur Polo Grounds in New Delhi on 6 November. Nimit Mehta, founder, R2S Events and partner Maharaja Sir Pratap Cup exclaimed, “As a run up to the finals, each day we created a mini experience with barbecue, cocktails and entertainment at the venue. While we try to garner mass appeal for the sport we cannot discount that polo has and always will be associated with luxury. Therefore hospitality is an area where we went no holds barred."
The final match was played between Jindal Panthers and Punjab Royals, with the latter taking home the trophy. Alongside the match there was a fund raising art exhibition by artist Rohit J Kapoor, a vintage cars display and a 21-gun salute.
Creating a lavish spread for the crowd of 1000 people was Purple Berry as the catering partner. Invitations were by Ravish Kapoor Innovative Invitations. Overall there were nineteen partners whose synergy made the experience come alive.
The after party went on into the night with Jugni Band and Akhil Sachdeva from band Nasha singing acoustic to an enthralled audience, courtesy of Star Clinch, an artist booking and management company.
"In the larger scheme of things our objective is to take a luxury sport and create an entire luxury experience around it. Besides that, Polo and the armed forces go back a long way, this event has therefore served as a great platform to generate funds and pay homage to our soldiers", says Nimit Mehta.
An enthusiastic Soniya Singh exclaimed, “This edition of Maharaja Sir Pratap Polo Cup has exceeded our expectations. Even with the roadblocks and heavy patrolling around the city it was heartening to see such a huge audience turnout”. She signs off by saying, “We strive to be the harbingers of the sport of polo in India. We have set an even higher bar for ourselves for the next edition and promise to deliver a more robust experience.”
Photo courtesy: The Wedding Frames
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