The true origins of the game of polo is unknown with China, India and Iran all claiming ownership, although some authors give dates as early as the 5th century BCE to the 1st century AD for its origin in Persia. However, the sport came to prominence in the 19th century when the British Army started playing Polo in India. Today, Polo is played as a professional sport in 16 countries worldwide and sees several major tournaments, including the Argentina Open, US Open and the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup, attracting thousands of spectators each year.
Commercially the sport of Polo is worth billions annually and sees companies and brands including LVMH, Audi and Rolex all heavily involved in the sport. On a broadcasting level, the sport is watched by millions across North and South America, Europe and Asia and sees broadcasters including Sky Sports, ESPN and CCTV all screening matches.
Within the UK, the Polo industry is worth over £300,000,000 annually with international brands including Land Rover, Kennett Watches, and BILLECART-SALMON among many others involved. The English summer season attracts high volumes of spectators at events such as Mint Polo in the Park (35,000), Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup (30,000), the Audi International Day (30,000) and Cartier Queen’s Cup (25,000) respectively. The sport is currently experiencing high growth in the UK, with over 3,500 HPA members at 71 clubs up an average of 70% since 2001 in addition to 52 schools and 43 colleges and universities having active Polo clubs.