Wed | Jul 24, 2019

JCA considers Sabina name change

Published:Monday | December 17, 2018 | 12:00 AMRachid Parchment/ Sports News Coordinator
KINGSTON, JAMAICA - AUGUST 13: In this handout image provided by CPL T20, A general view of Sabina Park during a St Lucia Stars nets and training session at Sabina Park on August 13, 2018 in Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo by Ashley Allen - CPL T20/Getty Images)

Major changes are coming to Jamaica's premier cricketing venue, Sabina Park, as Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA) Communications and Marketing Manager Garth Williams says the stadium could even undergo a name change.

Williams was speaking about new measures to make Sabina Park into a more profitable venue, to facilitate self-sufficiency, at a Gleaner Editors Forum at the company's headquarters in downtown Kingston on Tuesday.

One of the ventures being planned by the JCA include possibly selling naming rights to the venue.

"We have given consideration, only given consideration, as there's no direction yet - can we rename Sabina Park? For example, you have the American Airlines Arena where the Miami Heat play (in the NBA), you have the AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys (in the NFL). Can we look at something like that around Sabina Park? How then do we provide commercial value for those entities who seek to partner with us in that particular kind of way? We believe we are sitting on a gold mine there at Sabina Park," Williams said.

The JCA is also planning the creation of a sports lounge, which it intends to be fully operational within a year. It plans to install replay screens, more air-conditioning units, and to refurbish the kitchen space adjacent to the club lounge. The kitchen below the club lounge is also being planned to serve another purpose.

Williams also mentioned Sabina Inn, a three-star facility being planned, which, like the dorms, can host guests and teams. The aim, upon completion, is to take the stadium's visitor accommodation capacity from 40 persons, at the dormitory, to 60.

The association is also considering creating a walking and jogging track on the outside of the field.

The JCA estimates that the inn should cost around $10 million, general renovation, an additional $5 million, and marketing another $10 million. This, it hopes, will take its current yearly revenue from between an estimated $2 million to $4 million, up to $40 million to $50 million.

"We already have the space," he said. "What it needs now are some minor renovations and then to put the marketing behind it to attract people into the space.

"This is to ensure that we have all the necessary amenities. We had already come with a certain number of things. We have good, secure parking; we're accessible. So it's really more around what we do in the space. With this figure, we can get things running and it also includes the marketing around it. It's not all the capital expenditure to install the fittings that we need, but also to really pump funds into getting the space popularised."

Williams and JCA President Wilford 'Billy' Heaven said that these plans will line up with the Government's plans to redevelop downtown Kingston and, as a result, persons coming to the venue will be in a space where they can feel both comfortable and safe going out in Sabina Park's environs.

"It's not that Sabina will just be an oasis, so to speak, and then around it is just terrible," Williams said. "Once the municipality is providing that designation, there come with it certain types of benefits. But also, with this increase in activities, you will find, as well, that the community is welcome to participate, but it will also find jobs. Cricket matches provide temporary employment relief, but once you have us establish that entertainment zone, then that relief is no longer temporary. It is extensive."

The JCA's Sabina Park redevelopment plan is a part of its 10-year plan to have its operations take on a stronger business model by 2023.