Fri | Dec 1, 2023

Failing brand Jamaica

Reggae Girlz coach calls out sports administrators for not cashing in

Published:Sunday | September 24, 2023 | 12:12 AMLivingston Scott - Gleaner Writer
Lorne Donaldson, head coach, Reggae 
Lorne Donaldson, head coach, Reggae Girlz.
Jamaica’s Cheyna Williams dribbles by Canada’s Jade Rose during the first game of their Olympic qualification tie at the National Stadium on Friday.
Jamaica’s Cheyna Williams dribbles by Canada’s Jade Rose during the first game of their Olympic qualification tie at the National Stadium on Friday.

REGGAE GIRLZ coach Lorne Donaldson says local sports administrators should be doing a lot more to capitalise on Jamaica’s popularity as an international sports brand.

Donaldson believes the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and other associations are falling short in marketing the Jamaican brand, and are missing out on millions in earnings.

“I don’t think we market anything. I don’t see any marketing going on. We might think we are but we are lacking in that department,” he told The Sunday Gleaner recently.

“In Jamaica, we talk a lot when things are good but, when it’s done, everybody forgets. I do not see anything going on that shows me that there is momentum (from the Reggae Girlz’s historic qualification to the round of 16 of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand recently).

“It is no different from (the men’s qualification to the) 1998 World Cup. So we do a lot of talking but we need action,” he said.

Donaldson said the JFF can do more to create its own income, and does not think they are exploiting the merchandising of memorabilia significantly enough.

“Whether through marketing or whatever, I don’t even think we do a half-decent job of creating our own cash flow.

“We have to do a better job. People are buying everything that is Jamaican but you cannot get it.

“It has to be accessible. It has to be sold and a percentage goes back to the federation, so we can be more self-reliant.”

Though he wasn’t at the Reggae Boyz’s Nations League games recently, he is certain there was no merchandise available.

“Were they selling caps and shirts? Was there any merchandise in the stadium? I don’t know, I am just asking. This is what makes Brazil and other countries, like the USA, Germany, France, get a lot of money. It’s the merchandise they sell.

“The Jamaican brand is very marketable and everyone wants a Jamaican shirt. If there is no merchandise in the stadium, it’s a loss.”

As one of the most recognised international brands, he also thinks Jamaica has gone too long without a main sponsor to be worn on the front of the team jersey.

“The Adidas jersey, there is no sponsor on it. Every big country or team has something on their jersey. All over the world, when you talk about (this type of) sponsorship, we are talking about US millions.”

He also believes generic gear is another option not being taken advantage of.

“There is a part of the contract that says you can sell generic stuff. It doesn’t have to be an Adidas shirt. It can be something that is created to promote sports, not just football.

“Everybody can benefit, volleyball, netball, cricket. We have to start marketing our country on a bigger spectrum,” he said.

“You can’t cry for money. If we do not market the stuff, we do not become self-reliant and we are going to have the same (financial) problems five, 10 years from now. We have to get some experts here to find out how they do it, and get it done.”