Only a matter of month’s on from the HPA’s groundbreaking Vision For Polo document, we are already beginning to see actual progress being made. The HPA’s new initiative, #trypolouk, is a marketing scheme focused squarely at bringing new players into the sport. Put simply, the HPA will take on the responsibility of marketing and advertising the game, both online and physically at shows and events, beginning with Olympia this December. Here the HPA will attract potential beginners and sign them up to three different levels of polo experience at their local HPA affiliated club. From there, it is down to the club to provide the actual lessons, much as they would usually do when dealing with beginners who have joined independently.
The benefits of this kind of scheme are obvious, for both clubs, the HPA and the sport as a whole. As far as clubs are concerned, their marketing is largely done for them, allowing them to reap the rewards of large scale marketing campaigns without having to provide the man power or budget. Furthermore, you would at least hope that the HPA would be able to produce higher quality marketing materials which, along with an easier to understand and cohesive structure, should allow more people to get involved with the game. Not only is this of course yet
another benefit for the clubs, as more people are taking lessons and spending money with them, but to the HPA and the sport as a whole as well. Even if just a small percentage of these new beginners carry on and become full HPA members, it will provide a greatly needed influx of new members, especially after so many years of decline in membership numbers.
Furthermore, this kind of inclusion seems to signify a real change of mindset from within the HPA. For years criticism has been levelled at the HPA for prioritising existing members above any initiatives to make polo more accessible. Many felt that the HPA were content with the way the game was played and saw no reason to broaden their horizons. However now, we have a real step change. The HPA are really investing in beginners and the grass roots and actively reaching out to the public in a way we haven’t really seen before. Not only will this new mindset bring a fresh set of new members, but it has the potential to slowly and surely open the entire game up to the general public, breaking down many of the existing stereotypes which are currently holding the game back.
In conclusion this is a very strong move on the part of the HPA. It is a decision that seems to benefit almost all, and could signify the beginning of a new chapter in how the game is perceived.