Jaeger-LeCoultre, the luxury watch brand, have been confirmed as the new title sponsors for the Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship in 2015 and beyond, increasing their partnership with Cowdray Park with whom they have been long-term associates.
Jaeger-LeCoultre take over from headline sponsors Veuve Clicquot, whose sponsorship had lasted two decades. Cowdray Park Polo Club announced that Jaeger-LeCoultre had made "a long term commitment to the club and the tournament".
The 2015 Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup for the British Open Polo Championship will open on June 23 with the final taking place on Sunday July 19.
Peter Barfoot, Chairman of Cowdray Park Polo Club Chairman, said“Jaeger-LeCoultre’s commitment to polo is unquestionable and the brand has established a solid reputation throughout all levels of the sport. We feel privileged that Jaeger-LeCoultre has chosen the Gold Cup at Cowdray Park as the means to take their support to the very highest level.”
Zahra Kassim-Lakha, Director UK Market and Global Strategy added: “Extending our deep and close relationship with Cowdray Park Polo Club to encompass the title sponsorship of the world famous Gold Cup is a thrilling prospect for us. We hope to work closely with the club to promote the exciting sport of polo and increase its audiences.
Barfoot added: ”There were no shortage of partners who wanted take over from Veuve. When I took the job over I saw sponsorship as potentially one of the most difficult areas. The relationship with Veuve Clicquot had been 20 years and, in a way, it was a bit taken for granted that they'd still be there and still want to be involved.
"Jaeger-LeCoultre have been associated with us for a very long time and they ask us to respect the fact they've been with us for a long time," explained Barfoot, who had told Telegraph Sport that the sponsors were given "first opportunity, and were No 1 on the leaderboard throughout the negotiations".
Barfoot believes Jaeger-LeCoultre fits with the "old-fashioned values" of Cowdray Park Polo Club, built around friendship, family, and sportsmanship.
"Whether it's running a business or running a polo club, it's all about people. People matter. Our team that run the polo here are very important and they matter."
With Barfoot into his second season next year with the start of the Jaeger-LeCoultre sponsorship of the Gold Cup, a new bond will be formed in legacy creation.
"My legacy would be to create real value in terms of the club and the brand," he said. "I think we undervalue ourselves at Cowdray. I also want to make polo more inclusive with a broader church of membership – to make it more available to more people. It does have a reputation of being quite elitist and exclusive. But it doesn't need to be."
Jaeger-LeCoultre has a history with Cowdray Park already. The company has been Official Time Keeper at Cowdray Park since 2006 in a significant partnership which has seen the iconic Reverso watch become the recognisable face of the scoreboard on Lawns 2, the pitch where the Final of the Gold Cup is played.
Inspired by polo, the cult Reverso was born in the 1930s as a result of British officers serving in India looking for a watch capable of withstanding the harsh knocks of a polo game.
Jaeger-LeCoultre found the ultimate, elegant and effective technical solution to the challenge and the concept of a reversible watch was born, using a case that rotates in order to protect the dial and expose only the metal case back to shocks.
Jaeger-LeCoultre has also supported Cowdray Park’s long-standing and popular HPA series of tournaments, ranging from 8 to 18 goal handicap and indicating the company’s interest in all levels of the sport.