By D. Channing Muller Posted May 6, 2009, 8:00 AM EDT
The fifth annual Miami Beach Polo World Cup returned to the sands behind the Setai this past weekend, attracting nearly 2,200 people during its four-day run. The matches took place each day on the sand field, partitioned from the beach by a four-foot wall, with parties held in the adjacent viewing tents each night. Creator and producer Bruce Orosz, president of the Polo Life LLC and local event company ACT Productions, added the new Women’s South Beach Polo Cup this year after receiving multiple requests from female equestrians wanting to play in the men’s tournament.
“These are amateur players from other countries who were looking for an opportunity to play, so we gave it to them,” said Orosz.
The women played during the day on Thursday, with Team Equus Builders taking home the cup. That night the men’s and women’s teams, along with 300 polo fans, attended the weekend’s official kickoff party, which took place in the 5,240-square-foot V.I.P. spectator tent built by EventStar, where ticket-holders viewed all the matches. (The public could watch from the beach around the field.)
Despite the current economy, the tournament’s sponsorships increased by 20 percent compared to last year. Among the 40 companies participating were Audi, Comcast, Riviera South Beach, and China Grill Management, which provided catering in the tent throughout the weekend.
“We had to work a lot harder [to get sponsors], and clearly there was a different set of challenges this year than in the past,” said Orosz. “This has become such a unique event though that it’s an opportunity that companies don’t get often.”
Nespresso coffee created a pop-up café at the south end of the tent. A cosponsor of the Black Watch/Nespresso team, which included Ralph Lauren model Nacho Figueras, the company designed a partially covered café in the sand and served up a variety of coffee drinks.
The weekend’s official liquor sponsors, Bombay Sapphire and Grey Goose, had mixologists on-hand throughout the matches and after-parties, making cocktails from the branded glow bars on opposite ends of the tent. Waitresses sporting dresses matching the color of their respective spirit’s bottle served the labels’ signature cocktails, including the Bombay Collins and Grey Goose Cosmopolitan.
The tournament wrapped on Sunday night with the Polo Rocks Beach Bash after Team Bombay Sapphire won the La Martina Cup and title of 2009 Miami Beach Polo World Cup Champions. Though the tent's decor stayed the same throughout the weekend, ACT hired DJs to play each day at the Red Bull-branded turntables, though music had to remain off when the horses were on the field to avoid spooking them.
New sponsor the Opium Group hosted the weekend’s official after-parties each night at its Set and Louis nightclubs.