Wed | May 27, 2020

Tanya Lee | The Power 9 - Jamaica's winning sports brands

Published:Thursday | September 20, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce
Usain Bolt
Chris Gayle
Elaine Thompson

Recently, I spoke with The Gleaner's Rachid Parchment about the importance of creating a winning sports brand.

I do think it's critical that athletes, sporting associations, sports teams, and personalities harness and cultivate winning brands that will increase their earning potential.

A winning sports brand typically has marketability in abundance and can cash in on sponsorship and endorsement deals, drive unprecedented spectator interest, and has influence in its respective field based on its wins.

Here's my list, in no particular order, of what I will term "the Power 9", that is, my picks for the top sports brands across Jamaica for 2018.




Forget what you've heard about his off-field interviews, Chris Gayle is possibly the most explosive batsman in Jamaica's history and has entertained fans across the globe's second biggest sport for well over a decade.

The Caribbean's richest cricketer with a net worth of more than US$15 million makes this list as he continues to cash in on his massive brand appeal in every major T20 league worldwide. with a whopping two million followers on Instagram, Gayle continues to shine.




This one's a no-brainer. The greatest sprinter of all time continues to amass big earnings even in retirement. Bolt's complementary combination of dominance and charisma accounts for his almost nine million followers, with immense brand value for Puma, Hublot, Digicel, and Gatorade, to name a few. Bolt has earned only about US$1 million in salaries, with a whopping US$30 million from endorsement deals. In more ways than one, it really pays to win!




It's no secret that Jamaicans are obsessed with high school sports, which accounts for the Inter-secondary Sports Association's (ISSA) high brand value as they preside over the nation's top sporting properties in Manning Cup, daCosta Cup, and Boys and Girls' Championships. With massive TV rights deals and huge sponsorship capital from the likes of Digicel, Wisynco, SportsMax, GraceKennedy, and KFC, ISSA's sporting events continue to attract immense spectator interest.




Jamaica College has a stranglehold on Jamaica's schoolboy football and has built an impressive brand under the stewardship of former Coach Miguel Coley, who won five consecutive Manning Cup & Olivier Shield titles. And with a new $80 million synthetic track under construction, one assumes they are now seeking to challenge Calabar for the Champs title as well. Brand JC are now heavyweights in sports!




The Calabar Lions have dominated Boys' Championships for the past seven years and created a slew of headlines with the likes of Michael O'Hara, Javon Francis, and Christopher Taylor, to name a few. The lions roar big on any track and have created a track and field powerhouse on Red Hills Road.




T20 cricket's biggest hitter, Jamaica's Andre Russell is widely regarded as cricket's hottest sensation in 2018, racking up some impressive numbers in his 40-ball hundred in the recently concluded CPL. The 30-year-old Russell is forging a spectacular career and is poised to increase his earning potential off the pitch.




A relatively unknown Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce raced into the hearts of Jamaicans when she became the first Jamaican woman to win 100m gold in Beijing, 2008. Ten years later, the 31-year-old 'Mommy Rocket' continues to blaze the track while banking for sponsors and her various charities, with lucrative endorsement, deals with Digicel, Grace Kennedy, and Nike to boot.




Jamaica's first double Olympic champion over 100 & 200m rose to prominence in Rio 2016 when she achieved the rare sprint double. Thompson has an impressive social media following of over 100,000, which banks for sponsors Nike, Flow, and NCB. At just 26 years old, the fourth fastest ever over 100m and joint national record holder is poised for a repeat in Tokyo 2020.




Football wonder kid Leon Bailey had a breakout season at Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, and at just 21 years old, has a bright future ahead. Already, his pace and left foot have earned him comparisons with Arjen Robben as the next "king of the wing" in Germany. Bundesliga's young player of the year and KFC's newest brand ambassador is a 'big deal' in the globe's most popular sport.

- Tanya Lee is a marketer, author and sports publicist. Email: