The United States Polo Association (USPA), the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) and USPA Global Licensing (USPAGL) have finalized an agreement for the 2019 tournament series, which will offer a first-ever prize money component with a potential payout of $1,000,000. This highly-anticipated season offers a strong 20-goal and 22-goal level schedule that concludes with the top three most prestigious USPA national tournaments: C.V. Whitney Cup, USPA Gold Cup and the U.S. Open Polo Championship under one umbrella. Team interest is very high and early indications are showing a historic number of team entries at 16-20 for the series.
The tournament series will include a “Winner Take All” prize money format for the first time in history that will guarantee $125,000 to each of the winners of the CV Whitney Cup and the USPA Gold Cup and $250,000 for the winner of the U.S. Open Polo Championship. An additional incentive for teams competing in all three tournaments will be a $500,000 bonus for any team that wins all three tournaments in consecutive order, yielding a total of $1 million dollars in prize money.
“The decision to move from 26-goals to 22-goals for the last three major tournaments of the Florida high-goal season has been made in an effort to enhance interest and participation in American polo at its highest level,” said Robert Puetz USPA CEO. “We are pushing to increase spectator turnout in 2019, while creating more opportunities for American players. The level of team interest is inspiring and we look forward to watching the competition unfold in what promises to be the most exciting high-goal season ever.”
“This is the first time that the USPA, IPC and USPAGL have come together in a three-way partnership to create a pinnacle series of high-goal polo to elevate not only the spectator experience but to reveal the team owners and players as the heroes and professional athletes that they are,” said David Cummings, chairman of USPAGL. “Also, U.S. Polo Assn., the Official Brand of the U.S. Polo Association, is privileged to have the naming rights to Field # 1 – the ‘Home of U.S. Polo Assn.’ What better way to show our authentic connection to the sport of polo in America?”
“The new format is very exciting for our organization as we look towards the 2019 high-goal season at the International Polo Club Palm Beach,” said Mark Bellissimo, managing partner of the Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEP). “In order to grow interest in the sport, it is essential that a platform is established for new and upcoming players to get involved. We believe that moving from a 26-goal format to a 22-goal format will increase those opportunities. Supported by the immense addition of prize money and our unprecedented partnership with the USPA and USPAGL, the 2019 season will be one of our most successful yet at IPC.”
During the 2019 season, IPC will also expand the venue’s Polo School, which began taking clients and students in 2018, increase the presence of the venue’s permanent stick-and-ball simulator for practice, and host a thrilling season-long Gladiator Polo™ Series in the newly constructed sand arena at the venue, which was finished at the end of the 2018 season.
The series will culminate with the U.S. Open Final the third weekend of April. The USPA will continue to livestream the high-goal USPA tournaments on the USPA Polo Network (uspolo.org) and the final match of the U.S. Open Polo Championship, which will take place on the third weekend of April, will be aired on CBS Sports.