WarnerMedia is partnering with the newly created Xtreme Polo League (XPL), the first professional polo league, to build a global sports media franchise. With modernized governance and more competitive tournaments, the XPL promises faster, higher-scoring games for a heightened fan experience designed to grow the polo audience. WarnerMedia will leverage its unique capabilities and platforms to propel the sport of polo on an international scale, partnering on the production, content distribution and global marketing rights representation for all XPL competitions.
The XPL is the brainchild of Argentine-Swiss investment banker and polo player Juan Zavalía Paunero, the founder and CEO of sports media company EBI Media Holdings B.V. (“EBI”). EBI has assembled a group of companies to own and manage the worldwide commercial rights of the XPL. In addition to breaking ground as the world’s first international all-pro polo league and introducing new rules, the XPL is designing a state-of-the-art viewing experience for fans – on location or watching on the platform of their choice via partner WarnerMedia.
On September 25, the XPL will kick-off its first tournament and championships with a two-week-long integrated fan experience at the Argentine Polo Associations’ Polo Club in Pilar in Buenos Aires. The XPL will stage highly competitive matches under a unique experiential model to set the stage for the first XPL championship final on Saturday, October 5. The inaugural tournament will consist of six teams with Ellerstina, one of the all-time leading polo organizations from Argentina as well as La Aguada, winner of the coveted triple crown, and La Ensenada, a team of young rising stars. Las Monjitas from Colombia and La Albertina Abu Dhabi from the UAE and a new formation from India, La Pegasus Polo International. Players participating include Facundo Pieres, winner of the US Open Gauntlet Cup this year, playing with the very young Castagnola brothers, winners of this years Queen’s Cup in the UK, as well as Sapo Caset and Hilario Ulloa and Mariano Aguerre and Miguel Novillo Astrada, among other new rising stars.
During the course of this multi-year agreement, WarnerMedia will provide exclusive access for fans to watch all the matches live on B/R Live in the U.S. and Canada; TNT Sports in Argentina; CDF in Chile; and on the Esporte Interativo digital platforms in Brazil. DirecTV Latin America will also broadcast all matches live in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. Turner Sports’ U.S. sales division will manage all global sponsorship sales for the XPL and associated linear and digital ad inventory, including representing the global marketing rights for the league and working closely with marketing partners to elevate their brands’ presence within the space.
“We are excited by the new format that XPL has developed and look forward to collaborating across WarnerMedia properties and territories to boost awareness, viewership and commercial opportunities for the league,” said Whit Richardson, President, Turner Latin America.
“The XPL is about empowering a healthy polo ecosystem that both honors the sport’s heritage and unlocks its latent growth potential,” said Zavalía. “The XPL means high-octane action for viewers with faster gameplay, higher scores, more competitive tournaments and unprecedented access to provide a viewer experience that is faster and more engaging than anything ever seen before in polo. With WarnerMedia as a strategic partner, we plan to establish XPL as a top spectator sport for the modern global audience.”
Planning is already underway for the XPL’s 2020 season, which will include tournaments in Palm Beach, London, Paris or Soto Grande, and a return to Buenos Aires for the Championship. The XPL will add events in the Middle East and Asia in 2021 for a total of six tournaments with plans to ramp up to eight in 2022 and ten by 2023.