Polo World Cup Gallops onto Miami Beach

Tomas Curcio, Staff Writer

From Apr. 29 to May 1, the Polo World Cup begins play on the luscious sands of Miami Beach, Florida. The Polo World Cup has held its annual event in Collins Park since 2005, taking the base game of field polo and modifying it for the slippery surface. 

Boasting eight teams total, the event spotlights players from over ten different nations and over 120 horses the competitors ride upon.

Beach Polo exploded upon the polo scene in 2004 in the United Arab Emirates city of Dubai. Formatted by Reto Gaudenzi and Rashid Al Habtoor — Gaudenzi also previously had invented snow polo in 1985 — a similar idea to beach polo’s location change except played upon a frozen lake. Gaudenzi, alongside his son Tito, went on to create the Miami Beach Polo World Cup, and organizes the event to this day. 

Beach polo plays largely similar to the regular game, aside from some noticeable changes. Unlike field polo’s two four-player teams competing within an open field, beach polo has two, three-player teams who play within an enclosed sand arena. Players also use a different type of ball. Instead of the typical hard plastic, beach polo utilizes a rubber or leather inflated ball for easier mobility over the delicate, sandy surface.

Despite beach polo’s recent invention, the sport has quickly become a fad, expanding globally to countries such as: Argentina, Australia, China, England, Germany, India, Thailand and many more, with major tournaments upon the island of Jersey, New Zealand and Croatia. 

The tournament fills out its draws on Apr. 27 live on ChukkaTV, a polo-oriented television channel. On Apr. 28, the tournament holds an invite-only team meet and greet.

The event grants complimentary admission to all visitors, and includes multiple lucrative packages available for purchase. The VIP Table for 10 people on a Friday costs over $4,000, and for a whole weekend, comes out to $12,000. Tickets for these seatings go on sale from Apr. 29 to May 1.