Behind the Scenes: Jeff Brown the Maestro of the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic for Nine Years

The iconic yellow tulip cups instantly identify one of the world’s most recognized premier champagne houses.

The lettering in the hills above Will Rogers Polo Club that spell out V-E-U-V-E C-L-I-C-Q-U-O-T is quintessentially Hollywood. The crowd of 7,000 plus is fashionable, young, and flush with cash – and they’ve come in droves to sip champagne, to be photographed by any one of the 16 major media outlets covering the event, and to watch one of the most famous polo players in the world.

Over the course of the day’s schedule, they will consume countless bottles of chilled champagne served by a bar staff of 132, assisted by 75 more waiters dressed in bow-ties and suspenders.

It’s the ninth annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Los Angeles and the 200th anniversary of Veuve Clicquot’s Rosé champagne.

“The unique formula of mixing everyone’s favorite champagne with getting dressed up to the 9s, and on top of that, pairing it all with a beautiful sport – that creates the Veuve Clicquot energy around this event… a day to do lots of your favorite things simultaneously,” says Jeff Brown, whose event design/production company, Brown Hot Events, produces the Los Angeles event for Veuve Clicquot.

And lots of favorite things there are to be had: between champagne sips and trendy fare, the main polo match featuring Nacho Figueras, photo opps with custom designed florals and greenery, there are games, more champagne, interviews with celebrities and elbow-rubbing with Los Angeles’ Who’s Who. This year’s VIP party attendees included Kendall Jenner, Mandy Moore, Olivia Wilde, Jason Sudeikis, Victoria Justice, Ellen Pompeo, Kaley Cuoco, Rosario Dawson, Justin Hartley, Christina Hendricks, Angela Sarafyan, Rebel Wilson, Wilmer Valderrama, Harry Shum Jr., Rachel Zoe, Ali Larter, Jesse Williams and Molly Sims.

It’s all designed, produced and executed by 465 event-day staff including 64 vendor partners, 48 team members from Brown Hot Events, 15 floral designers and assistants, a dozen “greensmen” who install several miles worth of green hedge on site, and 180 security officers to oversee the safety of the event goers. “We actively plan and work (on the Los Angeles event) six months of the year,” says Brown, who shares the enormous responsibility with New York City-based marketing communications firm LaForce, the Veuve Clicquot brand team in NYC, and the regional Veuve Clicquot and Moet Hennessey teams in Southern California.

The 2019 event in Los Angeles will be the 10th installation of the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic on the West Coast. The New York City event, which is actually played at Liberty Park in New Jersey, has a two-year head start on the LA version. Though orchestrated and presented by Veuve Clicquot in both cities, “The events are remarkably different,” says Brown. “Not only have we fine-tuned the event over the last nine years, but the Los Angeles event is uniquely inspired by the city and its vibe. In New York, attendees take the ferry with the Statue of Liberty as the dramatic backdrop; for the event here, party-goers park and are shuttled down Sunset Boulevard to Will Rogers State Historic Park polo field, where Rogers once played polo with Walt Disney.” Long-standing event co-host Nacho Figueras believes, “It’s been really exciting to see it grow over the years. When the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic first started in New York in 2008, it was just a small seated lunch for family and friends of the players and Veuve Clicquot. Now, it’s hosted in both New York and Los Angeles, and welcomes thousands of spectators year after year.”

The now-famous VEUVE CLICQUOT lettering in the hills above the club, reminiscent of the HOLLYWOOD sign, is unofficially inspired by Figueras’ insistence that the design team try it once. “The execution of those 25’H letters was daunting the first year,” Brown said. “But the effect is magical… we’ve done the lettering installation four years in a row now.”

Figueras’ Team Veuve Clicquot triumphed 7-6 over Team Will Rogers this year and DJ Samantha Ronson continued the party. Photos, press releases and reports flooded the Internet, many of them in real time from the media tent. The months of preparation and production once again exceeded the hype and positioned the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic 2019 firmly into the agendas of LA’s chicest crowd.

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Jeff Brown of Brown Hot Events

“One month out from the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic, I gently let my friends and family know they won’t be seeing me socially,” laughs Jeff Brown of Brown Hot Events, a Los Angeles firm that produces some of LVMH’s premier events on the West coast and across the country. Getting to work on brands across the LVMH portfolio keeps Brown’s daily routine anything but routine. “One day, we are working on Dia de los Muertos masks and the next we’re planning holiday events for Dom Perignon – that’s what keeps us going.” That – and a strict adherence to daily meditation, yoga and Soul Cycle – balances Brown’s work life with self-care. Recently, he’s been listening to a meditation about saying yes to opportunities on his Insight Timer app on his iPhone. “In a world where we are told to say ‘No,’ saying ‘Yes’ can open unexpected doors.” Such is the way that Brown Hot Events landed the design, production and execution contract for the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Los Angeles. In 2007, Brown said ‘Yes’ to one event with Veuve Clicquot at the Santa Barbara Polo Club for less than 20 people, which inspired the regional LVMH team to produce the first West Coast version of the famous New York event. “Eight hundred people came the first year; in 2018, we sold over 5,500 tickets,” says Brown. “We now plan for the event six months out of the year.” Working with LaForce to pull off what is arguably the most-recognizable polo event in North America, Brown was a quick study on the game. “I had no idea what a chukker was,” he confided on a Friday afternoon in Los Angeles. Now he walks the polo grounds of Will Rogers State Historic Park in Pacific Palisades with the likes of Figueras and Delfina Blaquier. “Nacho is not only an amazing athlete, but a gentleman and a prince of a man. He’s extremely passionate, energetic and focused, while also being present in each moment.” On the second day of the week-long installation prior to the October 6 event, on a walk-through with Figueras and the team, someone brought up ideas for next year’s event. “’Let’s get through this week,’ someone joked, but the reality is, that’s how far ahead we’re thinking and planning,” says Brown. The team at BrownHot Events was back at it on Monday after the polo event. "Most of our clients, like LVMH, have been our clients for years and years. We are always working on something new."

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