Lifting the game - ISSA determined to improve schoolboy football after mega deal with Digicel, Wisynco
Dr Walton Small, president of the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) said with the increase in sponsorship, they are hoping to make this year's schoolboy football season one of the biggest in history.
He was speaking at yesterday's press launch at the Terra Nova hotel in St Andrew, where telecommunications and media company Digicel and manufacturing and distribution entity Wisynco announced a combined three-year sponsorship deal worth $175 million.
" ... We want to make football even bigger than Champs, and so we going to be investing a lot of our money - and even the money from Champs, if it is necessary - into football in such a way to ensure that the product is good," said Small.
"We are going to make a concerted effort from the quarter-finals up to have these matches played at venues like Sabina Park, Catherine Hall and the National Stadium," Small added. "We know that they (venues) are very expensive, but we believe it is time to start giving our students the opportunity to start displaying their talents on better playing surfaces."
Digicel, who are sponsoring local schoolboy football for the second time, have pumped $75 million over three years into the Manning Cup and Walker Cup competitions.
On the other hand, Wisynco have sponsored the daCosta Cup and Ben Francis competitions to the tune of over $100 million for the same period. Broadcast sponsor SportsMax has also signed a multi-year deal with ISSA to the tune of $28 million per year.
Associate sponsor KFC will be contributing $18 million, while another associate sponsor, Main Event Entertainment Group, will provide branding, technical and entertainment support.
Small added that his organisation is very grateful for the increase in sponsorship and is looking forward to exciting action this season.
"What this tells us is that the ISSA product in football is really a good one, and corporate Jamaica is looking at partnering with us to ensure that their products can also be marketed," Small said.
Wisynco Group Chairman William Mahfood said his organisation is very delighted to be partnering with ISSA.
"The upliftment and development of the youths in Jamaica - whether it is in academics or sports - is how we are going to grow as a country, and so it is one of the strongest focus areas for me, personally, and for Wisynco - to develop and uplift the young people," Mahfood said.
Digicel CEO Justin Morin said his company is very happy to once again be partnering with ISSA.
"Supporting schoolboy football is very important to all of us at Digicel because we see it as a major investment in the future of some of Jamaica's most talented athletes," said Morin.