Varsity polo gets a boost from La Martina

Historic agreements with Guards Polo Club and La Martina give Oxford and Cambridge a commercial advantage

Guards Polo Club and La Martina have expanded their already long-standing relationship with the announcement that La Martina is to sponsor the annual Varsity Day from 2016. Oxford and Cambridge will take to the field on Saturday 4 June at Smith’s Lawn to play for the La Martina Varsity Trophy – the UK’s oldest polo trophy, which is still played for and was first contested in 1879.

Both Varsity teams recently came together at La Martina’s flagship store in London, joining Lando Simonetti, founder of La Martina and Neil Hobday, CEO of Guards Polo Club, to celebrate a new five-year sponsorship agreement. This innovative contract also sees La Martina sign a worldwide licensing deal with the Oxford and Cambridge polo teams.

Lando Simonetti of La Martina said: “There has always been a natural synergy between La Martina and Guards Polo Club, both of whom are dedicated to spreading the culture of polo and its core values among the younger generation. We are focused on promoting the integrity, sense of honour and sportsmanship that’s at the heart of the sport to young polo players and their peers. So to be able to expand our partnership with Guards Polo Club by supporting Oxford and Cambridge Varsity Polo is a momentous occasion for us. We see this as the first step in a long and successful alliance.”

In addition, Guards Polo Club has signed a separate agreement with both university teams to represent their commercial interests. Neil Hobday of Guards Polo Club said at the launch event: “A cornerstone contract such as this, between Guards Polo Club, La Martina and the university polo clubs is the first of its type in polo and will allow these two prestigious university teams to plan their longer-term futures. In addition, Guards Polo Club’s corporate and commercial experience can be used to help both Oxford and Cambridge to secure sponsorship and create new platforms to showcase their sport.”

Both team captains were equally delighted with these new agreements. Captain of the current holders of the trophy, Oxford’s Elizabeth Hamilton said: “Oxford cannot wait to defend our title on Saturday 4th June. Our new sponsorship agreements with both La Martina and Guards Polo Club have laid a cornerstone for the future development of our club and we look forward to building on this support over the coming years. The Varsity match is a key fixture in the university polo calendar and one of the oldest in the western world – so what better way to start this historic partnership than by bringing the trophy back to Oxford?”

Former Cambridge captain and now Cambridge University Polo Club secretary Jacqueline Gilbert concurred, saying: “Cambridge University is one of the three oldest names in modern polo and the Varsity match one of the sport’s greatest enduring rivalries. As such, we are delighted to be partnering with two of the biggest names in polo – Guards Polo Club and La Martina, both of whom understand our passion for the sport and the values of sportsmanship, competition and friendship that will make the La Martina Varsity Day such a significant and exciting event.”

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