Jamaican football post COVID-19

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jamaican football
Jamaican football

What will Jamaican football look like post COVID-19? All football competitions have been suspended since COVID-19 reached our shores in March 2020, leaving football yearning. The cries for the return of competitive football are getting louder with each passing day. But with the COVID pandemic still firmly entrenched, football administrators are taking a cautious approach while using the downtime to plan for an exciting return to the game.

Stakeholders believe that Jamaican football needs major overhaul. The major change they have been pushing for is the transformation of the league to professional status and putting it on the global stage. Now rebranded as the Jamaica Premier League, there are some changes that we can expect to see when Jamaican football returns.

Jamaican football league under new management

Notably, a new entity is now in charge of Jamaica’s club football competition. The newly formed Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL) has replaced the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA).

Notably, a new entity is now in charge of Jamaica’s club football competition. The newly formed Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL) has replaced the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA).

Businessman Christopher Williams, who has been appointed chairman of PFJL, believes the Jamaica Premier League has the potential to become a global product and has some exciting plans for the league that will no doubt capture the imagination of local football fans.

Christopher Williams

Football is a major business of which branding is very important and what bigger brand is there to help push our football than Brand Jamaica? That is why naming the nation’s top-flight football competition the Jamaica Premier League and moving away from the traditional system of title sponsors will give Jamaican football a global appeal like never seen before and help to commercialize the sport locally.

The main change driving this initiative is the restructuring of the sponsoring of the league. There has been a huge increase in the level of corporate sponsorship committed to the league. Each team will now have its own club sponsor, and this will make a huge difference both on and off the field.

In previous years, clubs would struggle to cope with the financial demands of undertaking a full season in the nation’s top league. Having their own sponsor will help the teams to better manage the operational expenses of their clubs.

Professional Football Jamaica, having set a $100-million club sponsorship target, have already achieved 80% of that target. Yummy Bakery, Jamaica Producers, Indies Pharma, Wisynco, Jamaica Money Market Brokers (JMMB), Mount Pleasant Academy, Burger King and Tru Shake have all committed as clubs’ sponsors for the upcoming season of the Jamaica Premier League.

PFJL chairman, Christopher Williams, has promised that the remaining four sponsors will be announced shortly.

Digicel has signed on as the official presenting sponsor for the Jamaica Premier League, inking a three-season deal worth $200 million. Under the deal, the league will be known formally as “Jamaica Premier League – Powered by Digicel”.

Integral in the agreement with Digicel is their partnering with SportsMax to provide production and broadcast coverage of the Jamaica Premier League on cable and digital platforms for the next three seasons.

Television will play a major role in the PFJL’s push to fully commercialize the league and the organizers aim to bring games to viewers three to four days weekly.

There is a great sense of excitement and optimism, traversing the entire island, for the future of Jamaican football post COVID-19. Many have been hoping that the league will get underway by the end of February. However, though Sports Minister, Olivia Grange, issued a release last Friday which states that all sports now have the opportunity to reapply for their events, one potential obstacle could delay the season’s kick off.

Potential playing venues will need to be assessed to ensure they are compliant and it is unsure how long this process will take.

When the Jamaica Premier League does return, local football fans can expect a 22-game schedule followed by the play-offs, and a league closer to full professionalism. Very importantly, they will be able to enjoy local ball games on Sundays. There is every reason for Jamaican football fans to be excited.