Sting sponsorship may not lead to an increase in dancehall sponsorship
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter
While the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) has signed on to sponsor Sting for the first time in 30 years, Jason Hall, deputy director of JTB, says this move does not signal an automatic sponsorship for all music events, as events need to meet their sponsorship criteria.
At last month's launch of Sting, it was announced that JTB would be sponsoring the event for the first time since its start in the 1980s. The December 26 show promises to be a major one with American rapper 2Chainz and veteran dancehall artiste Super Cat on this year's line-up.
Hall explained that the decision to sponsor Sting stemmed from the fact that for the first time, Sting would be broadcast on pay-per-view and would be seen by between 300 and 500 million potential visitors around the world.
Hall stressed that sponsorship is determined by several things, including the timing of the event, its ability to bring people to Jamaica or the public relations (PR) equivalency of it.
"It is a process. We need to assess what the PR value of it is. And in terms of bringing people to Jamaica, you want at least six months promotion," he told The Sunday Gleaner.
He also noted that Sting falls under music events, but the JTB has no specific focus on reggae or dancehall.
Although Sting has been mostly incident-free for the past few years, Hall said the event has also signed the JTB's code of conduct which is against the use of lyrics inciting violence, anti-homosexual lyrics and expletives.
"There is some concern, but it (Sting) is an iconic Jamaican event," Hall said.
In addition, he said artistes have shown their mature side in the past and have been able to lift the bar.
Sting is now a JTB-sponsored event, but not all events have been as lucky and some promoters have complained bitterly that JTB is biased in its sponsorship.
But Hall says, "All events are subject to review by the board of directors."
He continued, "a promoter who says JTB is biased is one who did not get sponsorship in the past."
Hall says JTB supports marketing and promotion of events and if a "marketing plan is not clearly defined, it is unlikely that they will receive sponsorship."
"If you come to JTB with only two months to the event, it doesn't give you enough time to promote. You may not know who is going to perform at Jamaica Jazz and Blues, but you know it is a quality show," he told The Sunday Gleaner.
"It's been 30 years that Sting has been going on, longer than Reggae Sumfest, longer than Jazz and Blues. It was the broadcast platform that was appealing. The primary objective of the board is to bring people here."