Holiday Open House in West Palm Beach
Kelly Smallridge, President and CEO of the public/private economic development agency welcomed everyone and introduced J. Michael Prince, President and CEO of USPA Global Licensing, Inc., who provided the group with an interactive presentation about the organization.
Polo is considered among the oldest organized sports ever played and was first introduced in the United States by way of England in 1876. As players and teams propagated, the development of the sport demanded a governing body, and in 1890 the United States Polo Association (USPA), which was originally known simply as The Polo Association, was formed. As the second oldest sports governing body in the U.S. (behind only the United States Tennis Association, USTA), the purpose of the USPA was to coordinate games, standardize rules and establish handicaps so the teams could be more evenly matched. Today, the non-profit organization features programs for military members, intercollegiate, interscholastic, women, youth and arena tournaments and has major polo centers in Florida, Texas and California. Polo itself has evolved from a society sport to include a far broader base of budget-minded horsemen, professional players and commercial sponsorship entities. U.S. Polo Association is the official brand of the professional sport of polo.
Polo and Ralph Lauren are often confused with each other due to their similar logos and sporty garments. Both American brands feature polo riders on their horses. Moreover, many retailers erroneously list products from these two distinct companies interchangeably or as one. Polo’s logo reflects the sport and features two polo players on their horses, while that of Ralph Lauren’s is more fashion oriented and shows only one polo player on his horse with his mallet raised high.
Of the top 150 global licensors, the U.S. Polo Association is the 4th largest sports licensor globally, just behind MLB, NFL and NBA. With more than $1.7 billion in retail sales and double-digit growth for 2018, its footprint includes 166 countries and 1,100 U.S. Polo retail stores worldwide.
FPU is a Trustee member of the BDB and assists with their economic development efforts throughout the county.