Fast5 for Ja? - Rhone: It would take quite a bit of planning, sponsorship
International Netball Federation (INF) president Molly Rhone says that Jamaica has what she describes as "a great prospect" of hosting a Fast5 World Netball Series in the next few years.
Australia has been granted hosting rights for the tournament for three years, and after hosting this year's edition at the end of October, which saw the Sunshine Girls finish as runners-up, they will host again next year, before another nation gets its turn.
Rhone said that Jamaica hosting the Fast5 World Netball Series would be welcomed, adding that it would be "great" if all countries had the opportunity.
"It would take quite a bit of planning and quite a bit of sponsorship because the model is different, and the host has to take up the expenses of the six teams," Rhone told The Sunday Gleaner at last Thursday's reception hosted by the Ministry of Sport to honour the Sunshine Girls for their silver medal at the competition. The reception was held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
Rhone also said that the competition could have more than six teams going forward.
"That could change," she said. "It could be that you have six teams and two wild cards, or something, but at the moment, it would be the same because we are asking for expressions of interest, and it's hard to change the format while you're asking for expressions of interest."
The last time that Jamaica hosted a major international senior netball tournament was in 2003 when it staged the Netball World Championships (now renamed the Netball World Cup) at the National Arena and the National Indoor Sports Complex in Kingston.
Rhone said that either of these venues would be obvious choices to host the two-day Fast5 competition.
"We have the added benefit (in Jamaica) of having the two arenas side by side," she said. "Sponsorship would be very important because we can't make from gate receipts what they make in other countries. When you see what they charge in the other countries. If you're going to pay $100 Australian dollars (around $9,500 Jamaican) to go to a match, you know what that is? We're not going to get anybody paying close to $10,000 to go a game here in Jamaica. So we would have to depend on the sponsorship and whether we can sell the rights for that. But it's the association (Netball Jamaica) now who would have to put in that expression of interest."
Sports minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange said that her ministry would be very interested in supporting Netball Jamaica, saying, "We want Fast5 in Jamaica."
During her speech at the reception, Grange said that the ministry would do whatever it could to continue to support Netball Jamaica and the nation's netballers.
"You have the commitment of the Ministry of Sport. I assure you of my commitment to assist in any area that you may need help, to the best of our ability," Grange said.