Saturday matches for RSPL - Local top-flight matches to be televised on weekend
Following the success of Monday night football over the past two seasons, Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) Chairman Edward Seaga announced at yesterday's launch of this season's Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) that they intend to add televised Saturday and Sunday games as a new feature this season.
According to the outgoing PLCA chairman, the deal is still being finalised, but he is optimistic that the new venture will promote and expand top-flight local football.
"The PLCA has taken the decision to expand the playing days for the fixtures to include (televised) Saturday games and Sunday games.
"Saturday is a sporting day, so it fits in nicely, and it gives the sponsors better results and improve their sponsorship, and we feel this is necessary, both at the TV level and at the attendance level," Seaga told The Gleaner at Monday's launch at the JFF secretariat in New Kingston.
"It is left now only to tie up the action of the raters of the film side and sponsorship side ... and I can safely say that this year we will have Saturday and Sunday games," he continued.
"Red Stripe continues making Monday night a primary night for football. But all of us miss Sunday (televised) games because it is the right time to be able to relax and watch a game," he added.
Head of marketing at Red Stripe, Blandine Jean Paul-Reid, hailed the Premier League's potential and declared that they are taking steps to increase their marketability.
She noted how they partnered with ESPN to televise the playoff games live last season, and said they are even more committed to making the product bigger, better and more internationally accepted.
"We are going to double down and create more exposure for our football. We want to take the Premier League to the next level and put it on the map beyond the borders of Jamaica. So we are looking at how we can move the League not only in the island, but how to bring it to the diaspora," she said.
Paul-Reid also believes that having four different match days gives her company more opportunities to interact with clubs and fans and to promote the league.
"This year, we are going to have a lot more activities around the games. There are games on Saturdays and games on Wednesdays, and that is going to give us an opportunity to make the Red Stripe name really big in Jamaica.
"All the sports bars are going to enjoy the games, and we are going to be there every single night. So, for us, it's a great thing because we are going to have football on four days," she beamed.
Meanwhile, one of last season's main sponsors, China Harbour Engineering Company, has pulled out, giving way to Carib Cement Company Limited, which has joined the sponsorship group.
The league kicks off this Sunday with a full slate of matches. Champions Arnett Gardens will open against newcomers UWI at the Anthony Spaulding Sports Complex at 6 p.m., Harbour View entertain Boys' Town in a 6:30 p.m. start at Harbour View, Montego Bay will start their campaign against returning former winners Portmore United at Wespow Park at 4 p.m., Reno face Humble Lion at Frome at 3:30 p.m., Tivoli Gardens take on Cavalier at the Edward Seaga Sports Complex also at 3:30 p.m., and Rivoli United oppose Waterhouse at Spanish Town Prison Oval at 4 p.m.