Sat | Dec 4, 2021

JAAA sets year-end target for Carifta sponsorship

Published:Wednesday | November 24, 2021 | 12:11 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Watts
Watts

JAMAICA ATHLETICS Administrative Association (JAAA) treasurer, Ludlow Watts, says that they are hoping to finalise sponsorship for the 2022 Carifta Games by the end of December, as they begin preparations to host the event in five months’ time.

Jamaica will stage the 49th edition of the competition next April, in place of originally selected host Guyana, who informed the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Association (NACAC) of their inability to host the event.

In addition to the COVID-19 protocols that are pending approval, the JAAA also have to contend with funding the venture, which is estimated to cost J$150 million. While acknowledging the challenges of putting on the event in five months, Watts says that they are looking towards assistance from the private sector, with a minimum target of US$360,000 (J$56.02 million) to start getting things prepared.

“That’s about the least that we would really want to garner because that is what we would really need to help us to ensure that we want to have a good championship,” Watts told The Gleaner.

“In this particular case, there are always the COVID-19 issues. Just about every issue that is raised everybody mentioned the word COVID-19, although we know that it’s not everybody or every entity in this country is making losses because of COVID. Regardless, we take everything into account and that is why we are approaching it from all sources.”

Watts said that they are exploring other options, which also include government assistance, but has emphasised the importance of corporate support,which he hopes they will get by the end of this year.

GREAT EXPOSURE ASSOCIATED

“We are looking at getting these things in place before the end of December. Because we would really need that to really get going. And the sponsors would have more than four months to do whatever marketing, promotion they need to get. We already recognise that the sponsors like to seek benefits, and the type of exposure that they would get from such an event is something that the world recognises.”

With the goal of welcoming fans back inside the National Stadium for the competition, Watts says that they are in a good position to accommodate them safely,which he hopes will bring revenue for the JAAA.

“I believe that the Government is aware of the success that has happened in track and field over the past years, and I believe by the time (2021 the track and field season) comes around, we will be in a position to get the support of the Government for spectators to attend,” Watts said.

The fan return is a chief target for Local Organising Committee chairman, Mike Fennell, who says the finalisation of the health measures is critical, not only for fan return, but to maintain the high-profile nature of the competition, with regional and international officers such as World Athletics boss, Lord Sebastian Coe, interested in attending.

“Because Jamaica has such a track record in track and field and our reputation is such, people see this as an event they must be at. But we cannot go out aggressively until we know what the protocols are,” Fennell said.

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com