Sat | Oct 19, 2019

Win-win situation - Tallawahs, GOJ announce partnership as Gayle returns home to captain CPL franchise

Published:Sunday | May 5, 2019 | 12:34 AMRobert Bailey - Sunday Gleaner Writer

Minister of Sports Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange and Jefferson Miller, chief executive officer (CEO) of the Jamaica Tallawahs franchise, both welcomed a three-year partnership agreement between the entities ahead of this year’s staging of the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) competition.

Star batsman Chris Gayle was also announced as the team’s marquee player, spelling a return home for the big Jamaican, who represented the St Kitts and Nevis Patriots last season. Gayle, who led the Tallawahs to the CPL title in 2013 and 2016, is the leading scorer in the competition with 2,111 runs.

Grange shared that the Government of Jamaica will be sponsoring the Tallawahs to the tune of $7.3 million over a three-year period.

The sports ministry will be contributing $2.7 million of those funds while the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) will be dishing out $4.6 million to the Jamaican franchise. Pepsi Jamaica was also announced as one of the main sponsors for the Tallawahs.

Grange also pointed out that the SDF will facilitate all importation and exportation of equipment for the team during the series.

“I am pleased because we really worked towards having everything settled,” said Grange during yesterday’s press launch, which was held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel.

“I think we have reached a point where we are comfortable and where we are happy that there is a partnership, and moving forward now, we can properly plan and have the lead time that we would need to make things work,” Grange said.

Grange also added that the Government would be partnering with the Tallawahs to help to develop the game locally.

SOCIAL INTERVENTION

“We are not only speaking about the games, but we are also looking at how we can partner in relation to social intervention projects and the development of cricket at all levels in Jamaica,” said Grange.

With the sponsorship from the Government, the Tallawahs will now play all five home matches at Sabina Park, compared to last year when they only played two of their home matches in Jamaica before moving to Florida for their final three games, citing a lack of support from Government and corporate Jamaica. It sparked a raging debate, with the Tallawahs management, at the time, admitting that they were considering a move away from the island.

Miller was, however, delighted that both parties were able to arrive at an agreement.

“I am ecstatic because we have come a long way, and you can see the unity and how strong we can be just having the minister of sports, the director of tourism (Donovan White), and the calls from the prime minister to corporate Jamaica to have us stay here in Jamaica,” said Miller.

“It (money) is getting there, but it is not going to cover our total expenses, but we are not going to lose $1.8 million like we did last year,” said the Tallawahs CEO.

“That’s the key because in any business, if you lost that kind of money, then you are not going to survive. Those are the monies that we lost last year, but we can guarantee you that we are not going to lose that kind of money this year,” said Miller, who was also delighted with Pepsi Jamaica’s contribution.

“Pepsi is a global brand and to have a global (brand) like Pepsi partnering with a global (brand) like Jamaica and the Tallawahs is a win-win situation,” said Miller.

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com