FLOW committed to schoolboy football competitions - Redwood
The FLOW-powered Super Cup competition has been a revelation since its creation in 2014, with clashes between the best rural and urban schoolboy football teams drawing massive crowds to, and inducing euphoria at, venues across the island.
However, to some, the heavily marketed Super Cup tournament has taken away much of the gloss from the traditional cups - the Manning Cup and daCosta Cup league tournaments, as well as the Walker Cup, Ben Francis Cup and Olivier Shield knockout tournaments - which all continue, for the most part, to struggle to match the appeal of their younger sibling.
Still, FLOW's man in charge of marketing and products, Carlo Redwood, while acknowledging the mammoth impact of the Super Cup towards his company's overarching objectives where local schoolboy football is concerned, was quick to underline his company's commitment to extending that appeal to the other competitions.
Redwood noted that the success of the Super Cup competition will not only help the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) as a result of their gate receipt-sharing agreement, but will also help to raise the excitement around the other competitions as the formula of comprehensive sports entertainment is continually polished and extended.
"We are absolutely committed to all the competitions," Redwood declared ahead of Saturday's Manning Cup final between Jamaica College and St George's College and the second daCosta Cup semi-final between St Elizabeth Technical High School and Lennon High.
"It's a development strategy over a number of years. We have a five-year contract and our goal is to ensure that all the competitions have the same level of energy, excitement and support as the Super Cup does.
"Two years ago, we started the journey as LIME to continue the investment in the development of sport. We didn't want to just invest to develop the game itself, but we wanted to bring back the glory days of schoolboy football," Redwood added.
"The Super Cup was the first step, which brought the attention of the Jamaican public on a large scale as we start to see that development coming now into the other competitions. As we'd appreciate, it takes money to deliver that kind of product; the surfaces that we want them to play on at all the other levels is difficult (to realise) - the price (to rent venues) is very high. Bringing entertainment and so on costs money as well.
"What we are really doing is using Super Cup as the first step in generating more income for ISSA. What nobody really knows is that the gate receipts that we have - we have a gate-share arrangement with ISSA that allows that money to be reinvested in other competitions, and that is important," underlined Redwood, who agreed that the traditional competitions are not helped by games being played on less-than-ideal surfaces, a situation he noted was unavoidable at present given the financial constraints.
"It's difficult, as ISSA has said, to find that type of sponsorship that you need to create the kind of football that we all want, because it cost money to do so. Super Cup is really the vehicle that has brought that extra money to the table that will allow us going forward to deliver Manning Cup and daCosta Cup and certainly Olivier Shield and Ben Francis Cup in that type of way that people now enjoy with Super Cup, but again, it's a process," added Redwood.