Beach Polo World Cup Returns To Miami Beach With Top Players, Teams And Sponsors
Beach Polo World Cup, the world’s largest beach polo tournament, returns to South Beach this weekend.
By Sharon Robb
Friday through Sunday, an expected crowd between 10,000 and 15,000 will converge on the beachfront near W South Beach to witness the resurgence of the world-class polo event.
Swiss polo visionary Reto Gaudenzi, the founder of the Snow Polo World Cup in St. Moritz and several other tournaments, created the Beach Polo World Cup in 2005, one year after beach polo was introduced in Dubai, and hosted the South Beach event through 2008.
Gaudenzi’s son, Tito Gaudenzi of Lifestyle Companies, is following in his father’s footsteps resurrecting the event along with co-founders Melissa Ganzi, Grand Champions Polo Club President and Florida Circuit Governor, and Fernando Torres. Gaudenzi and Ganzi are also competing all three days.
“For me this event is near and dear,” Tito Gaudenzi said. “My father started it in 2005. I moved here for beach polo to help start this and after that Miami Beach became my home. I am happy to bring back the event, it’s very special to me.
“Without the support of Melissa Ganzi and Fernando Torres, this event would not be possible,” Gaudenzi said. “They have worked hand-in-hand with me to bring this back.
“Our vision is to put on an amazing event with all the components and great teams and players from around the world to showcase the sport not only locally but globally and make it an annual event. Events like this really help bring the sport closer to the people and promote polo which is most important.”
Some of the world’s top men and women players including Alejandro Novillo Astrada, Nic Roldan, Pablo Dorignac, Kerstie Allen and Cecilia Cochran will compete.
The four-day event which begins Thursday with player and sponsor introductions and kickoff cocktail party will also host the Women’s Cup on Saturday along with a charity match on Sunday.
W South Beach is the official hospitality sponsor. Bass Museum is the official charity partner and Wellington-based Grand Champions is the host polo club.
Six teams will compete in the Beach Polo World Cup. The rosters are:
Team David Yurman (11): Bash Kazi, 1, Pelon Escapite, 7, Tito Gaudenzi, 3.
Team Chateau D’esclans (11): Sebastian Schneberger, 2, Melissa Ganzi, 1, Alejandro Novillo Astrada, 8.
Team W South Beach (13): Grant Ganzi, 2, Juancito Bollini, 4, Pablo Dorignac, 7.
Team McCallan (12): Sarah Siegel Magness, 1, Marc Ganzi, 3, Nic Roldan, 8.
Team Karma (13): Rommy Gianni, 2, Juan Cruz Greguoli, 5, Ricardo Mansur, 6.
Team La Martina (13): Riley Ganzi, 1, Jesse Bray, 5, Juan Bollini, 7.
Bass Museum Charity Game team rosters are:
Bass Museum Orange: Ines Rivero, Louis Aguirre, Tito Gaudenzi.
Bass Museum Blue: Sterling Jones, Melissa Ganzi, Marc Ganzi.
Women’s Cup team rosters are:
Bal Harbour: Sheryl Sick, Cecilia Cochran, Melissa Ganzi.
PFB: Danielle Sciaretta Whelan, Liselotte Sandberg, Kerstie Allen.
Polo action begins Friday with three games at noon, 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. On Saturday, three games will be played at 11:30 a.m., 1 and 3:15 p.m. in addition to the Women’s Polo Cup at 2:30 p.m.
Sunday features another full day of polo. The schedule begins 11:30 a.m. with the third and fourth place finals; the consolation McCallan Cup is 1 p.m. followed by the Bass Museum Charity Game at 2:30 p.m. The finals for the coveted La Martina Cup are 3:15 p.m. and awards ceremony at 4:30 p.m.
In addition to polo, there are several fun social events scheduled.
The four-day weekend begins Thursday with the presentation of teams and sponsors at W South Beach, 5-7 p.m. followed by the Kickoff Cocktail Party at The Delano from 8-11 p.m. where guests can meet the polo players. On Friday, W South Beach will host Apres Polo, 4:30-8 p.m. and ORA Miami will host a Polo Players Night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Also on Friday, the Women’s Cup team presentation will be held at Bal Harbor Shops, 6-8 p.m. followed by the David Yurman cocktail event, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
On Saturday, Apres Polo at W South Beach will be held 5-8:30 p.m. followed by La Martina Polo Night at W South Beach 9:30-12:30 p.m. On Sunday, W South Beach will host the farewell event at 5:30 p.m. and Polo Players Late Night at Wall.
General admission to the competitions and adjacent Retail Village is complimentary. Concessions will be available for purchase.
Gaudenzi’s Lifestyle Companies is one of the leaders in organizing top events around the world including Switzerland, Germany, France, Azerbaijan and Russia.
For more information on the tournament and accompanying events, visit www.miamipolocup.com.