Fan support key to LIME Super Cup
Leighton Levy, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica Football Federation president Captain Horace Burrell described it as 'sheer brilliance' and the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) fell in love with it from the get-go but LIME's vice-president of marketing, Carlo Redwood, believes a key element for success of the inaugural LIME Super Cup that kicks off on October 18, will be spectator support.
The competition will pit the best schoolboy teams from the rural daCosta Cup competition against the best from urban Jamaica, the Manning Cup with the winning school collecting $1 million in prize money. Games will be played at four venues - Wespow Park Complex in Montego Bay, Juicy Beef Complex in Clarendon, the National Stadium and at Sabina Park - considered the best surfaces to deliver high-quality football.
In this its inaugural season, Redwood wants to see full stands at each venue.
"It's always about spectator support and that's why this year there is no cost for the tickets," Redwood said after he launched the competition last week. "You just need to get your hand on a ticket."
The man who introduced the concept to ISSA last year as part of a deal LIME signed to sponsor schoolboy football, said he wants to get everyone engaged in the competition.
"I want to ensure that it is not only the diehard schoolboy football fans who support this competition but all football fans just for the intrigue of it, because if you live in rural Jamaica you have to support your daCosta Cup team and similarly for those in the Corporate Area. So we want that spectator support. It is about interest and excitement that we want to bring to football in Jamaica, not just to people who support schoolboy football."
To keep the fans engaged, a complete entertainment package is being created to support the weekend double-headers. Patrons, he assured, will see enhanced entertainment packages.
"When you come to the games you will get a specific entertainment experience. We are going to have artistes performing at half-time and you'll see more things coming out as we start to push the marketing," he said.
ISSA, Redwood said, was critical to making the tournament - which is expected to put to rest all argument about which schoolboy team is the best - a reality.
"ISSA was able to adjust the Ben Francis and Walker Cup to fit in this competition so that the teams are not playing too much football. Therefore, the adjustments with the Ben Francis and the Walker Cup allowed us to introduce this competition," Redwood explained.
"The principals are fully excited. Separate and apart from the cash the teams will win, (the schools) spend no money on this. We give them new kits, we pay for all the transportation costs, we pay for all the costs so this is the one competition that actually pays them money."
Sheer brilliance it may be but it will be the fans and the schools that will make it work.