The new owners of Sarasota Polo Club have changed the way seating is now handled. And while I know it’s a business and they are doing wonderful things for the field, those of us who have been ardent followers for years feel we’ll eventually be squeezed out.
Premier seats that were once on a first come, first serve basis, are now over double the cost of a tail gate ticket. The first week we encountered this we paid the double amount, got second row seats, only to have latecomers get the reserved seats in the first row without paying double when those who reserved them didn’t show up. And frankly, the view from the second row was not worth the cost. Chalk that up to difficulties with a new system.
The following week we sat in the limited area available in front of the premier seating, but felt bad, as we took spots that we know were usually taken by people we know who we see every week.
They are now charging for premier tailgating spots in an area that was always first come, first serve. This weekend the area closest to us was populated by a huge party that never turned their music down during the entire game, making hearing the announcer difficult. They are now having a vendors row, making parking more difficult.
Suspecting they will soon ban, or charge extra for the spots we go three hours early to secure. Suspecting our weekly games will soon be more like monthly, or every other month.
Going to the polo games was always a charming event. Snowbirds, tourists, residents all mixed up with sunshine and the love of horses and sport. A camaraderie ensued, predicated on the happy chance accidents of meeting people from your hometown, or someone who worked with a colleague of yours. The feeling on the tailgate side is different now. Them (those who have paid more) and us. A feeling of division on the side of the polo field that was always for everyone. Divided, sort of like our country.
I understand the new pricing, and the enormous costs of running this operation. And I am grateful to have been able to see so many well-played polo matches and have such inspiration for my art. And I am grateful to the new owners for keeping this Sarasota tradition alive.
Good luck Sarasota Polo Club. Even if we become less frequent spectators, we will always wish you well.
“Did You Art Today?”