The first-ever beach polo event in Chicago is now history, and the Grey Goose Chicago Beach Polo World Cup did things right in how they helped the media tell the story of the event.
Here’s what they did that you can replicate to create awareness and attendance for your own horsebiz event.
Although Chicago used to be the epicenter of American polo, with historical roots and news coverage going back as far as 1876, this past weekend’s polo event on the renowned Chicago lakefront beaches is a first for the area and has brought polo back to the forefront of the city’s media coverage.
Beach polo is played around the world in countries such as Australia, India, England, Italy, Argentina, Germany, France, Spain, and Thailand. In the U.S., Miami Beach has been host to beach polo tournaments for the past seven years thanks to The Polo Life, a private company with the goal of integrating the sport of polo and the existing polo community with the lifestyle and entertainment options popular with younger generations of potential fans as well as the general public unfamiliar with polo. The Chicago event was a direct result of the popularity of the Miami Beach tournaments, which attracted over 15,000 spectators this year.
A world-class event such as this needs and deserves top-notch media coverage, and when you combine the challenges of getting those media mentions with a first-time event that many in Chicago might not have heard of and a weekend jam-packed with other area events and activities, there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes advance planning and hands-on work that goes into successfully getting the word out. Here are some of the tools & tactics they used to enhance their chances of getting media coverage:
- A great website with lots of downloads: When you need to spread the word and get people to purchase tickets, it’s essential to have a well-organized website with inspiring images and the event and ticket information people need and want. Where this event went ‘above and beyond’ was in adding features such as a downloadable version of the event program, a gallery of videos and images, and a selection of articles under a Polo News section. It’s not only great information for the public, it’s truly helpful to any journalists researching and planning their own coverage.
- A dedicated Media Room on the website: Media needs information and images to tell a story. Chicago Beach Polo did a great job with their Media Room, providing direct PR rep contact information, downloadable fact sheets, a selection of press photos complete with listed photo credit, and links to press pass registration for each day.
- Onsite media registration, resources, and assistance: There was a clearly-marked Media Tent at the event, located next to the ticketing & VIP check-in tents, with a helpful representative able to answer questions, and printed media kits. Clearly-marked badges provided the important all-area access needed to truly cover the event. And, when I checked in at the Media Tent on Sunday, PR agent Stephanie Krol walked with me over to the horse staging area and introduced me to several of the players; we also reviewed various aspects of the day’s schedule, and she pointed out some key photo opp areas, providing some extremely helpful and much-appreciated information.
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