Wellington, Fla. – June 7, 2017 – The Florida Sports Foundation presented six awards to recognize Florida communities and sports commissions for their efforts to cultivate sports tourism in Florida. The awards were presented at the annual Florida Sports Summit, cohosted by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission, and was held May 24-26, 2017 at the Jupiter Beach Resort. The awards included Large Market Venue of the Year, Mid-size Market Venue of the Year, Best Awarded Event of the Year, Small Market Event of the Year, Mid-Market Event of the Year and Large Market Event of the Year. The International Polo Club (IPC), located in Wellington, FL, was selected as the Large Market Sports Venue of the Year.
“The Palm Beach County Sports Commission is honored the Florida Sports Foundation and our peers would select one of our premier sports facilities in The Palm Beaches, the International Polo Club, as Large Market Venue of the Year,” said George Linley, Executive Director of Palm Beach County Sports Commission. “The International Polo Club is one of the dynamic sports facilities in Florida and is home to world class polo and a selection of the nation’s largest amateur sports tournaments. There are very few communities throughout the United States that enjoy a sports venue comparable to the International polo club. Equestrians Sports Productions Our partnership with Equestrian Sports Productions (ESP) has significantly grown sports tourism for Palm Beach County. The team at ESP are innovators in sports tourism, and we are grateful to have them as partners.”
The International Polo Club (IPC), located in Wellington, FL and owned and operated by Equestrian Sports Productions, offers a collection of nine (9) polo fields accumulating 248 acres of pristine land, as well a main grandstand, croquet facility, meeting and breakout rooms, 7,000 sq. ft. of indoor usable floor space, a private health club, a pool, tennis courts and sufficient parking options. IPC is the premier polo destination in the world, hosting the largest of high-goal teams and the most prestigious polo tournaments in the United States. In addition, this facility has proven to be an ideal site for soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, rugby, and a variety of other sports.
The International Polo Club was a major catalyst for sports tourism in The Palm Beaches throughout the entire year in 2016. IPC is home to the world polo circuit, which culminated with the 112th United States Open Polo Championship; the most celebrated polo event in the United States. This grand event dates to 1904, where it was first played at Meadowbrook Polo Club in Old Westbury, NY and has been played at IPC since 2004. The 2016 polo season generated over $20 million in visitor spending and over 10,000 room nights for Palm Beach County hotels and seasonal rentals.
Apart from polo, the International Polo Club is one of the most versatile and flexible sports venues in the United States. The Palm Beach County Sports Commission utilized this venue to host some of the largest sports events in the nation, including the American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO) National Games, the National Hockey Festival (USA Field Hockey), Florida United Lacrosse Cup Series – Palm Beach Blast and the Florida Draw Lacrosse Classic. These four events, along with the 2016 polo season, generated almost $38 million in visitor spending and 34,926 room nights for Palm Beach County’s hospitality industry.
“We are honored to accept the Venue of the Year Award presented at the Florida Sports Foundation’s Sports Summit on behalf of the International Polo Club Palm Beach. Our partnership feels that IPC is a versatile venue that boasts the ability to not only showcase the highest levels of international and national polo competition, but also provide a platform of large mixed-use space to facilitate other popular field sports,” said Mark Bellissimo, CEO of IPC and Managing Partner of the Wellington Equestrian Partners. “This past year, we utilized various resources to help re-develop and re-energize the facility and firmly believe that we will only continue to expand the impact of IPC, from a broadened sports tourism perspective, on many different levels in the future.”