The game of polo, which was earlier thought to be the “hobby of the affluent” and kept beyond the common man’s reach, is well on its way to become a mass sport in the country, with the introduction of the Indian Arena Polo league.

The sport is an enthralling exhibition of endurance, a showcase of pure acrobatic skills, strength and how well you speak to your horse. But the game for a long time has not been able to reach the commoners due to lack of sponsorship and option to watch it on television.

“The idea of the Indian Polo Association (IPA) has always been to take the sport to the masses. The common man is not going to take it up unless they see and enjoy the game. People have less time these days and if you see the shorter format, where the grounds will be small, but closer to the spectators, it will change the face of polo,” an official and player from the IPA told The Sunday Guardian.

Apart from being televised, the league also promises to provide experiences to engage more fans just like any other league in the country. The players who took part in the game at the launch of the league sounded positive and believe that the step is a huge stride forward.

Asked if introducing a franchise league will help the national team and make it an established sport in the country, he said, “Hopefully, with the sponsorship and more money coming into the game, people will take up the sport. Even if one percent of Indians pursue it, it will open up the gates for new clubs and more facilities,” he said.

Lieutenant Henry Amor from the British Army Regiment, Queens Royal Hussars, said: “It’s a brand new idea and a good one. The shorter format is exciting and it’s great news for the public. I hope the game gets good support from the public.”