Harris-Lau optimistic about JFFLive future
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) director of marketing and business development, Sophia Harris-Lau, said she was pleasantly surprised with the public's reception to the recent friendly international between the Reggae Boyz and Korea Republic, which was streamed online.
The game, which ended in a 2-2 draw on January 30, was played in Turkey but not broadcast locally on free to air television. As such, the JFF decided to use its YouTube platform, cable television channels and close-circuit screens in Half Way Tree, Cross Roads, Portmore and Spanish Town to give local fans the opportunity to watch.
Harris-Lau said that despite the kick off being at 6 a.m. on the day there were still many persons who woke up early to watch.
"The reports were that traffic was stopped," she shared. "People literally stopped to watch the Boyz play. One thing about our nation is that when our senior teams are representing us on the international stage, we stop and we tune in. Jamaicans are nationalists and I think that we just need more home games."
Harris-Lau, who started working at the JFF in June last year, said although her brainchild was started under the previous administration of the late Captain Horace Burrell, the new board led by Michael Ricketts has been what she described as fully supportive of the venture.
"It was well-received," she said. "However with president Ricketts and general secretary Dalton Wint coming on board at the Federation, I received a lot more support and momentum with the development of the platform. It wasn't a lack of support before, but with the transition of the federation after former President Burrell's illness, it was difficult to gain a lot of momentum. It became easier to get things done (with the support of Ricketts and Wint)."
When asked if the plan for JFFLive is for the local governing body to expand its reach to a younger audience, Harris-Lau said that she does see benefit in attracting the attention of millennials, however the primary aim of the project was always to market the Reggae Boyz brand across the world.
"It's a welcome by-product of what we are undertaking," she explained. "The primary focus was really to bring the Jamaican style of football to the world, in the most current manner feasible. Budgetary expenditure for the digital platform is a lot less than traditional market. It's affordable."
Harris-Lau added that another benefit of JFFLive is that content aired online, especially via YouTube, will now be automatically archived, leading to easier record keeping. Many members of the local football fraternity have complained that enough is not being done to properly collect statistics of Jamaican football matches and she said that online archiving will, in time, make this a problem of the past.