Last Saturday my partner, Rachel and I had our first go at polocrosse. While we both ride, we’d never picked up a racquet before.
Members of the Club generously loaned their amazing horses and we had a ball. All the elements of the horse world were on display – generosity, sense of community and above all, fun.
Looking around the ground I counted around 40 people, including young riders. Horses numbered about the same if not more, plus there was an assemblage of 15 or so horse trucks and floats.
On the way home, still on the high of playing for the first time we noticed an oval with people playing soccer. We stopped for a closer look.
Of the roughly 400 people at the ground, with three games in progress we estimated around 33 players. There were 100 or so cars in a car park.
If I was a government employee charged with the responsibility of funding the two sports, my bias would be soccer, if based solely on participation. On deeper examination, if I look at return on investment to the tax payer, I would see a much different picture.
If we consider a single polocrosse club event like the one I attended; the capital investment in 40 plus horses, trucks, equipment and the properties housing the horses, would be over $3-4 million – my best guess. Based on 40 horses, the annual expenditure on vets, farriers, feed, equipment, fuel, maintenance (who has passed out yet?) would be in excess of $300,000 annually.
One Club, one Saturday afternoon.
Replicate this all over Australia during the season, (yes I know COVID’s interrupted it) and you begin to see how economically important polocrosse is to Australian businesses – many of which are small to medium sized family owned. Carnivals and the Nationals bring enormous financial contributions to the community of interest.
When it comes to representing your sport in my work securing funding and other support from either government or corporates, my ‘guesstimates’ of these figures aren’t good enough. That’s where you, the players and members, come in.
You may have seen the recent correspondence from Graham Lane to the State President’s regarding PAA assessing the economic contribution of polocrosse, work that I am being contracted by the PAA to undertake. I need your help to create an accurate picture.
Shortly you will receive a survey that will ask, amongst other things, how much you spend on your sport, and what you have invested in trucks, property, equipment and of course horses. The information you share will come to me via Survey Monkey, set up so that I don’t see personal email addresses and is therefore anonymous and confidential.
I will use the information to produce a report for the PAA of which there will be a sub-report for each State so your Clubs can use information tailored for state, zone and or club-based funding.
I’d like to also get some feedback from you as to how the PAA can help you through the State Presidents with your participation in the Sport.
I certainly acknowledge that soccer and many other sports contribute greatly to the Australian economy and more importantly provide social benefits and community connection. But we must not underestimate the high value, therefore leverage potential, of the relatively low participation sport of polocrosse.
I’d like to make sure that people making funding and investment decisions have a complete picture.
Please feel to ring me 0419705860 or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
If you have any questions or concerns.