As the top polo series and league in German polo sport, the German Polo Tour (GPT), which was founded in 2010, is now highly regarded by players and sponsors alike. Founder Christopher Kirsch: “We are now in the situation where the sponsors come to us both with a desire to establish more locations and also apply with fully-functioning tournaments that they want integrated into the tour.” Polo players from twelve nations have applied for the German Polo Tour in 2015, a total of 38 teams with 152 players and 800 horses.
A particular highlight this year is the German Polo High Goal Championship as part of the German Polo Tour at Gut Aspern near Hamburg. “That will be an amazing event for which we have the perfect prerequisites at Gut Aspern. With two full-sized polo pitches and an infrastructure of stalls, parking areas and a spectator area, we are able to realise a high-quality tournament.” Major international companies such as the Swiss jeweller Bucherer, Germany‘s oldest private bank Berenberg and Land Rover support the league across the country as sponsors. “This continuous presence is something that the sponsors value because they can present themselves as long-term partners of the sport in a very exclusive environment and invite their guests.”
This year, there will be a change of venue in the Rhine-Main area. Up until now, chukkas have been played on the pitch at Oberursel, but for the German Polo Tour 2015, they will be played on the Frankfurt Polo Club complex. “Because of this change in venue, we will increase the number of teams in Frankfurt from four to six. Almost all the players who played in the Frankfurt Gold Cup want to take part in our tournament.” Some of the players in Frankfurt do not meet the handicap criteria of -1 yet and are not allowed to play the tournament. This lower handicap limit of -1 is also set at Munich and Berlin / Hoppegarten. For the three other tournaments on the tour the handicap limit is 0. The German Polo Tour will surely be an incentive for some Frankfurt players to improve their handicaps over the coming year in order to be able to play there in 2016. The Bucherer Polo Cup in Hoppegarten, Berlin will still be included and takes place at the end of September.
The traditional racecourse with its unique atmosphere has managed to move from a lowly position to the top of the German racing world over the past few years. The complex is meticulously maintained the whole year round and there has long been an interest in polo here. Christopher Kirsch: “In 2016, we will also include Stuttgart in the German Polo Tour. A tournament may yet take place there this year. More and more sponsors, including international companies, are approaching us and expressing their wishes in terms of locations. We are currently checking Bremen out as a possible match location. This would mean that the Tour is represented evenly across Germany.”
“However, the prerequisite is that the conditions are suitable. The quality of the pitch and infrastructure must be adequate and meet the standards of the Tour. The sport needs flagship events where high-quality playing is showcased in a good atmosphere.” With the constancy and continuity that the Tour brings to the sport, Kirsch wants to increase the loyalty of spectators, as well as offer sponsors a long-term presence.
Dates of the 2015 German Polo Tour:
Bucherer Polo Cup – Munich
29-31 May 2015, Munich / Holzkirchen
Berenberg High Goal Cup – Düsseldorf
12-14 June 2015, Düsseldorf
Berenberg Polo-Derby – Hamburg
26-28 June 2015, Hamburg
International German Championship – Bucherer High Goal – Gut Aspern – Hamburg
3-12 July 2015, Hamburg / Gut Aspern
Polo Trophy – Frankfurt
4-6 September 2015, Frankfurt
Bucherer Polo Cup – Berlin
25-27 September 2015, Berlin / Hoppegarten