An eventually world wide polo league is due to start in Argentina on September 21, before the start of the High Goal Season with the final at the Palermo Stadium on October 5. (By Eric Weil, Buenos Aires)
It is the Extreme Polo League (XPL) which will be administered by EBI Media Holdings Ltd founded by an Argentine, former low handicap player, Juan Zavalia. The tournament will not interfere with other major tournaments and aspires to have 10 or more stages around the world for teams of minimum 28 goal per team and minimum four handicap players.
Franchises have so far been bought by La Dolfina Polo Ranch (with Adolfo Cambiaso and his son ‘Poroto’), Ellerstina (possibly with two teams), Las Monjitas, La Aguada, La Ensenada, La Albertina and Alegria for the first two years, while USPA (US Polo Association) with an entirely US team and HPA (Hurlingham Polo Association) with a British team are also close to join.
As in Formula One motor racing, teams will earn points at each stage and at the end of the year receive money according to their position. In the first year, Zavalia says 740,000 dollars will be distributed with the money coming from sales of franchises, TV, marketing, attend-ances, etc. Some rule changes will be made to presumably make the game more dynamic and interesting to watch. Goals scored from a minimum of 80 yards will be worth double. Players can have a maximum of 12 horses per stage and teams can change players during the match.
Former NBA basketball player Pepe Sanchez is Zavalia’s partner and in charge of the financing. For next year, the sum to divide among the teams is expected to be 1,180,000 dollars. Zavalia worked for 20 years in an investment bank and was part of the Genii Capital Group when it owned the Lotus team when it was racing in Formula One from 2008 to 2014. “Something like the XPL could not have been done before when the media was only interested in the attendance at matches before writing about the sport. But now they have the backing of OTTs (Netflix).”