Have you been at the Levín farm near Benešov on Saturday to have a look at the Prague Polo Cup event? No? Well we were there and we have to say that the change of place didn't help the event at all. A polo tournament may have been held here last year too, but this time guests likely didn't consider it worth it to "trudge" all the way here. We remember the times when Prague Polo Cup used to have three times the amount of attendees.
Does polo even have a tradition in the Czech Republic? Unlike golf or horse racing it doesn't. There have been some attempts to make this game more Czech and I have to say that this year at the Royal Golf & Polo Cup in Mariánské Lázně it worked out - putting golf and polo together really is a great idea. You just have to know how to do it!
Celebrities aren't interested anymore
Unlike Mariánky, Prague Polo Cup claims that it will host the highest class people from the Czech Republic but also Russia, yet it has been rumored a few days prior to the event already that nearly no celebrities confirmed their attendance. And indeed, the only ones showing up at the event were blogger Ina T, TV presenter Petra Svoboda and hockey player Alexander Salák with his wife Michaela. Even the Russian attendance had considerably dropped this year. It's apparent that even people of this nationality living in the Czech Republic have been subject to an economic crisis for a few years now after the start of the war with Ukraine. No wonder that many Russians living in the Czech Republic still keep their business in their homeland, or closely connected to it.
Unless you're VIP, you'll pay a lot - for nothing!
Unless you're on the list of VIP guests that do not have to pay for attendance, it's not exactly cheap entertainment. A standard ticket costs CZK 3,600, the price for a child under 6 years of age is CZK 1,200. Let's be honest here - that's the price of dinner for two with a glass of wine at the best restaurants. If you by chance thought that you'd be offered amazing catering for this price, you're mistaken!
This year you could only wistfully remember the old days, when the tables were loaded with red caviar and champagne flowed freely! This year it sort of fizzled out. That's a huge difference from the sparkling water at Mariánské Lázně where everything was on an excellent level.
"Prague Polo Cup is more about fashion and showing off outfits, it's more of a social event rather than a sports event,"
one of the sponsors tells me. I have to agree, the dress code really was upheld here one hundred percent. Suits for the men, women in elegant dresses and hats, then divot stomping, a fashion show... Who'd actually care about announcing the winners, right? You're mostly taken aback by the organizer Nina Popová still thanking everyone for attending with a heavy Russian accent even after years of living in the Czech Republic. I wonder what the partners and sponsors who are present in almost the same numbers as the guests can actually take away from such an event.
Throughout the whole thing I couldn't shake the feeling that Prague Polo Cup's heyday is long gone. Fortunately this topic won't be completely dead in the future. A new generation is taking the reins, it approaches the organization of an equestrian sports event with much more energy and has a bit of a closer relationship with Czech tradition.