Mark Bellissimo Announces $250,000 In Prize Money in Expansion of 2017 Gladiator Polo™ League Presented by U.S. Polo Assn.

Feb 10, 2017 - 7:21 AM

Over 45 Sponsors Support The New League After Inaugural Game With NBC Sports Network Set to Rebroadcast February 23rd Gladiator Polo Event

New Gladiator Polo Divisions and National Tournaments Planned for 2018 for Children’s, Adults, Women’s, Colleges, and National City Leagues

For Immediate Release

Wellington, FL – February 9, 2017 – Mark Bellissimo, Managing Partner of the International Equestrian Group (IEG), announced today that the International Polo Club Palm Beach (IPC) has dramatically expanded the 2017 winter Gladiator Polo™ League schedule. Bellissimo commented, “This does not displace our core interest in high-goal grass polo, but rather is a concerted effort to create a robust and critical gateway to bring more players, patrons, spectators, and sponsors into the sport of polo.”

Bellissimo added, “We will commit significant resources Gladiator Polo™ by creating both amateur and professional leagues that, over time, will provide substantial income and opportunities to both emerging and seasoned professionals and make the sport higher-profile and more accessible at all levels. In order to create a true professional sport, you need to create personalities for athletes, spectator enthusiasm, and strong sponsor support, as well as media interest. That is the only formula for long-term success in sport.” Next week IPC will outline its high goal grass polo initiative.

The U.S. Polo Assn. brand is the presenting sponsor of the 2017 league. David Cummings, CEO and President of USPA Global Licensing, commented, “I can’t think of a better way for a spectator to get up close and personal to the action of the game and to really see the athletic ability of both the horse and rider. Gladiator Polo is hockey on horseback.”

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The next high goal arena game will feature Sebastian Merlos (9), Jeff Blake (7), Pelon Escapite (7) vs Julio Arrellano (8), Kris Kampsen (8), Juan Martin Zubia (7) and will be held on February 16th, when Team Spiculus will face Team Priscus at the “Coliseum” otherwise known as the Equestrian Village on the corner of South Shore Boulevard and Pierson Road (13500 South Shore Boulevard). The winner will face Team Spartacus on February 23rd. The next four games of the Gladiator Polo™ League will be March 9th, March 16th, March 30th, and the $50,000 Gladiator Polo™ Final on Saturday evening of April 8th.

The VIP area for the initial Gladiator Polo™ event, hosted on January 26th, was sold out. By request, there are new additions to the VIP hospitality offerings: the asado menu will be expanded to include more food options. While general admission and parking remain free to the public, a limited number of reserved tables can be purchased in the VIP Pavilion. Both asado and VIP table reservations can be purchased at A featured “After Party” at the newly created “Lion’s Den” will feature DJ Maximus and will be sponsored by Pernod Ricard.

Gladiator Polo™ presented by U.S. Polo Assn. will add two new teams, Spiculus and Priscus, to join Spartacus and Crixus, as the four teams named after great Roman gladiators.

The Gladiator Polo™ teams each have a title sponsor, as well as ten unique supporting sponsors that are presented on the sleeves of each jersey. The brands are listed below. All of the Gladiator Polo™ teams feature the world’s top polo professionals that are ranked between 23 and 24 goals.

Team jerseys crafted by jersey sponsor Horseware® Ireland.

Team jerseys crafted by jersey sponsor Horseware® Ireland.
  • Crixus Team, sponsored by U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management:
    Supporting sponsors include: Braman Motors Mini Cooper, Malibu Rum, Shock Top Beer, Connelly’s Red Mills, Pegasus Builders, The Maya Group, Gonzalez Shenkman & Buckstein, VIP Medical Weight Loss, Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission, DePaula Chevrolet.
  • Spartacus Team, sponsored by Carol A. Sollak and Engel & Völkers:
    Supporting sponsors include: Braman Motors Porsche, Avion Tequila, Bank of America, Goose Island Beer, Cavalleria Toscana, Palm Beach Equine Clinic, W Development Group, Galle Law Group, Palm Beach County Sports Commission, and the Wanderers Club.
  • Priscus Team, sponsored by Richard Schechter and Bainbridge Companies:
    Supporting sponsors include: Braman Motors BMW, Absolut Vodka, Raymond James, Bud Light, Dutta Corporation, Five Star Builders, Rosenbaum Mollengarden, Maria Mendelsohn/Douglas Elliman, Discover the Palm Beaches, and Palm Beach Riding Academy.
  • Spiculus Team, sponsored by Don Graves and Marshall & Sterling Insurance Equisport Division:
    Supporting sponsors include: Braman Motors Bentley, Jamison Irish Whiskey, Stella Artois Beer, Florida Community Bank, Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, Hedrick Brothers Construction, the Fite Group Luxury Homes, Florida Restaurant Group and Lodging Association, Gold Coast Feed, Gladiator Sporting Goods Factory.

The Triple Crown Group will sponsor each game’s MVP Award, as well as the league MVP Award. Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association is also a sponsor and media partner of the Gladiator Polo™ League.

Gates for the event will open to the general public at 6:00 p.m. while competition will start immediately at 7:00 p.m.

The Tourist Development Council of the Palm Beaches, in collaboration with the Palm Beach Sports Commission, Discover the Palm Beaches, and the Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission, have partnered with the Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEP) to promote the Gladiator Polo™ League nationally, in an effort to make Wellington, FL, the world headquarters of arena polo. The TDC entities will be the title sponsors of the NBC Sports Broadcast to air on February 28th. The national broadcast of the February 23rd game is scheduled for February 28th at 11:00 p.m. following the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche NHL hockey game.

Other details of the announcement:

– The children of the world’s top polo players will contest a 5-minute exhibition chukker at halftime of the February 16th event to showcase young polo talent, as well draw attention to the future rising stars of the sport. The players will include the children of high-profile high-goal players including Poroto Cambiaso, son of Adolfo Cambiaso, Antonio Aguirre, son of Mariano Aguirre, Kristos Magrini, son of Matias Magrini, Hope Arellano, daughter of Julio Arellano, Hunter Azzaro, son of Mike Azzaro, and Santos Merlos, son of Sebastian Merlos.

– Dan Farrell, former SVP of Corporate Sales at Charlotte Motor Speedway, one of the most financially successful NASCAR venues in the nation, has been hired as the Chief Revenue Officer in support of all Wellington, Tryon, and Colorado equestrian properties under the management of the Wellington Equestrian Partners (WEP), Tryon Equestrian Partners (TEP), and Colorado Equestrian Partners (CEP).

– More Gladiator Polo™ demonstration events are planned in other cities, starting in the spring of 2017 and will be announced shortly. A Gladiator Polo™ City League will begin in the fall of 2017.

– In addition to the Professional Division, the Gladiator Polo™ League will be developing a series of amateur arena leagues based out of Wellington, FL, Tryon, NC, and Parker, CO, that will include children, adults, colleges, as well as women’s leagues.

– The International Polo Club (IPC) is creating a “Get Into Polo” initiative to promote interest and access to the sport by utilizing the newly created IPC Polo Academy and training simulators, as well as the new World Polo Training Center (WPTC) to be launched in the fall of 2017.

– The Gladiator Polo™ League has signed a preferred provider and sponsorship agreement with Gladiator Sports (GS), based in Woodbridge, VA, a top manufacturer of polo equipment and tack. They will manufacture and provide the official game ball. Gladiator Sports does not have a corporate affiliation with the Gladiator Polo™ League.

Bellissimo concluded, “I want to thank the USPA, U.S. Polo Assn., the inaugural players, patrons, and all of the team and supporting sponsors whose commitment to this effort are greatly appreciated. With a fast-action, fan-friendly game and a successful NBC Sports Network broadcast, we are positioned to take the sport to a new level. I am confident that after a successful inaugural year, next year we will have a 12 week league with an 8-team league and prize money in excess of $500,000 that will include team owners and a player draft.”

For sponsorship and partner requests, please contact Tannis Marley at For information on Gladiator Polo™ League, teams, and training contact Gates Gridley at

Media Contact:
Darlene Ricker
Media Relations/Communications
(310) 210-4004

About the International Polo Club
The International Polo Club of Palm Beach is the premier polo destination in the world, hosting the largest field of high-goal teams and the most prestigious polo tournaments in the United States. Polo enthusiasts descend upon Wellington, Fla., each winter season to enjoy their love of the sport in the most prominent and well-equipped polo facility. The 2017 Palm Beach Polo season opened on Sunday, January 1, and will conclude 17 weeks later with the USPA 113th U.S. Open Polo Championships® Final on Sunday, April 23rd. Polo matches are open to the public, with a wide range of hospitality and guest seating that includes elegant grandstand viewing, field tailgating, stadium seating, field-side champagne brunch at The Pavilion, and exclusive sponsor boxes. To learn more about the International Polo Club Palm Beach, please visit

Please visit or call 561-793-5867 for more information on Palm Beach International Equestrian Center and Equestrian Sport Productions, LLC.

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