Sunday, October 21, 2012

JAMAICA NEEDS THE FOOTBALL PROGRAMME Jamaica heads to Brazil in 2014 The most watched sport in the world is football reporting some 3.5 billion fans across the world with a heavy concentration of those fans in Europe, Asia and Africa. The International Football Federation (FIFA) is reportedly valued at $1 billion with equity of $1.061 million. At the last World Cup in 2010, television rights were valued at $650 million. Football players are some of the highest paid, most valuable brands and have the biggest following on Social Media. They are also the most controversial, but at the end of the day, they are what make football one of the greatest sports in the world. Jamaica is now at a turning point with the development and enhancement of its own fledging sporting industry with track and field leading the way, in terms of popularity and impact. Football on the other hand with its splintered reach and impact has great value, but the difficulty is, there is no evidence of what the football brand is really worth. We know there are over 50 players in professional leagues all over the world, but the reporting of the impact the players are having in those international communities are not well known, neither is the overall financial value of their talents. As we progress towards Brazil 2014 with the hope that Jamaica will qualify for its second World Cup in 14 years; the country has to rally its troops to support the cause for a number of reasons. Qualification for the 2014 World Cup will attract a tremendous amount of sponsorship but the football administration will have some strategic work to undertake to make this bid more successful than in 1998. The current squad needs players who are more marketable – the team needs a star. The very good teams all around the world all stars. Liverpool has Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz and emerging is Raheem Sterling (I am a Liverpool fan); Manchester United has Wayne Rooney; on the country side, Cristiano Ronaldo is the star for Portugal while Lionel Messi is the star for Argentina and I could go on. Love them or not, they are the stars and the game is played based on their presence. Jamaica needs a star. I won’t try to choose one here, but in time the team needs one and fast. The players need stronger marketability…with the star appeal the team will be looked at more closely for market opportunities for endorsements, sponsorship, brand association and media presence. With those efforts the Jamaica Football Federation can then arrange more international friendlies at “The Office” where Jamaicans will have an opportunity to see their stars and promote the sport of football by the best public relations tool – ‘word of mouth’. The venues around the island need refurbishing giving greater access to young players who have football as part of their dream; while providing a better environment for inter-school competitions and a better player pool for transition in the national programme. So by the time we hit 2018, Jamaica’s team would have been solidly prepared for entry into the World Cup. The administration of the JFF has to then focus on accountability, transparency and must engage the newest forms of management expertise available, using technology to enhance its message. The support services for the sport have to be managed using the tertiary level institutions allowing for young players to move on to collegiate football to gain valuable experience on and off the field. The number of coaches, officials must increase, but offer quality and impartial service all aimed at growing the sport. Jamaica has to go back to the day where the natural progression from primary to college football is seen as the way to enter the national programme, developing the Jamaican Brand of Football. The island currently boasts the fastest men and women in the world. What of football? Isn’t it high time the Jamaican football brand is known and established into the minds of people firstly in Jamaica and also to the rest of the world. The current coach, Theodore Whitmore should be made to participate in leadership, management, communications workshops while capturing technical expertise from watching tapes and using data to select the best team Jamaica is to put on the field. The window of opportunity is not as wide open as it was then and with international competition closer to each other’s doorsteps, what is required is the competitive edge to get to Brazil in 2014, just two years before the Olympics. Football has to set the pace and return to its glory days. An important aspect of preparation is prevention and care methodology for the team and its staff…medical, psychological and financial. These areas will prevent any kind of distraction which can only hurt the overall journey of the team. The ball is now in the hands of Captain Burrell and his squad to lead, manage and deliver the efforts of the football team into Brazil 2014. Carole Beckford © October 2012

Jamaican Hume Johnson making academic waves

Most recently The University of Waikato in New Zealand appointed Dr. Hume Johnson for a third year in a row, Honorary Status as an Associate in The Political Science and Public Policy Programme. This means that the University still sees her as member of the community. She will continue to do good will on its behalf. That sucess has been translated to her being a part of the marketing for the Faculty of Arts and Social Science and in other ways, she continues to spread goodwill. She also, most recently also wrote a recommendation for her former Doctoral Supervsior in the Politics Department, Dr Priya Kurian, for a University wide Award for which she is nominated. Here is the profile of Dr Hume Johnson that is to be used as part of the marketing campaign of the Faculty of Arts and Social Science at the University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. She currently holds a Doctor of Philosophy, Political Science and Public Policy and is an Assistant Professor, Media and Communications and Public Relations at the Roger Williams University, Rhode Island, USA. Hume is now an assistant professor of media communications and public relations at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, United States. She is also a Political Analyst with the Jamaican media and author of the book ‘Challenges to Civil Society: Popular Protest and Governance in Jamaica’. She spends much of her day doing research, preparing and researching her lectures, grading and giving feedback on students work, and attending meetings with students and faculty. Hume also spends a lot of time working on her second book which will address communication and media relations in crisis, writing papers and book chapters, and keeping up to date on what is happening in the area of civil society and governance in Jamaica. She also operates a blog entitled ‘Talking Politics’, and is regularly tweeting to influence national conversations in Jamaica. She is also working on a civics book, which she hopes will be added to the Jamaican school curriculum, especially given the recent re-introduction of the teaching of civics in schools in Jamaica. The book explores what it means to be a citizen of Jamaica. Another goal of Dr Johnson is to help to advance Brand Jamaica. For Hume, Jamaica’s brand is much more music and sport, but anchors also on the policies of the Government of Jamaica and the behaviour of Jamaican citizens. She hopes to be an ambassador with a focus on public and cultural diplomacy. Dr. Johnson attended the Ferncourt High School in Claremont, St. Ann.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


Carole Beckford and Dr. Hume Johnson to discuss prospects for Economic and Social Transformation Through Sport (Kingston, October 16) – Sports management expert and publicist for track icon, Usain Bolt, Carole Beckford and Political Analyst, and Public Relations professor at Roger Williams University, United States, Dr. Hume Johnson, will discuss prospects for Jamaica’s sport brand at an international conference scheduled for November 7 – 9, 2012 in Salzburg, Austria. The conference, entitled ‘Sports: Probing the Boundaries’, is being organised by the UK based Research and Publishing group, Inter With 2012 seeing both the Olympic Games in being held in London/ the United Kingdom, and the European Football Championships in Poland and the Ukraine, the organisation believes examining the ways that sports influence and intersect with the many layers of modern life is a compelling subject. Carole Beckford and Dr. Hume Johnson, who will join a number of sports professionals and academics from around the world at the conference, will make two separate presentations around the theme ‘Branding Jamaica Through Sport’. Beckford will discuss the economic and business aspects of sports in Jamaica, and show how a developing country as tiny as Jamaica can create a competitive sport economy that can create economic activity, jobs and wealth, using the strength of its sports brand. Beckford, who is part of Bolt’s management team, has specific portfolio responsibility for communications. Beckford has suggested that “Usain Bolt, one of the most popular sports stars in the island has opened up a whole new marketability for Jamaica along with the exploits of the Reggae Boys, Sunshine Girls and the one off examples which continue to stun the world, including recently crowned, World Taekwondo Champion, Kenneth Edwards. Jamaica is yet to fully capitalise and to translate that powerful brand into economic gains for the developing economy.” She will also Chair the panel “Pedagogies and Sports Careers”, which will see presenters discuss and debate the value of sports in the education curriculum. For her part, Dr. Hume Johnson will discuss the role sport has played in building Jamaica’s global and national identity, and secured for the nation pride of place in the world. Within the context of Jamaica’s social and economic troubles, Dr. Johnson will explore whether sport can help to bolster and advance Jamaica’s brand image and standing on the world stage, as well as stir well-needed national unity, build social capital and lead to social transformation at home. The outspoken political commentator says “it is important to explore whether sport can be the great ‘leveler’ and ‘stabiliser’ in a society with social problems.” This is not the first time Carole Beckford and Dr. Hume Johnson have collaborated to discuss on Jamaica’s Sport Brand. The pair recently contributed to a Jamaica 50 Anthology in which they discussed the role of sports in advancing Jamaica’s international brand image over the past 50 years.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

GC Foster honours home-trained masseurs

SPANISH TOWN, October 9 Masseurs are not the most recognised members of a sporting delegation, but the GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport honoured five of its outstanding masseurs on October 9 in a brief ceremony. The five masseurs were part of the London 2012 Summer Olympic team. The gentlemen graduated from the Sports Massage programme which has been offered at the College from as far back as 2004. Everald Edwards, Shawn Kettle, Gavin James, Collin Turner and Patrick Watson were on hand to accept their awards. Although part of the overall squad, Edwards is the masseur for double world and Olympic champion, Usain Bolt; while Kettle is the significant figure behind the second fastest man in the world Yohan Blake. The other honorees were Collin Turner the most recent graduate from the massage program offered at the college, Gavin James masseur at the Racers Track Club and Patrick Watson one of the key persons behind the successes of former 100 meter record holder Asafa Powell. General Secretary from the JAAA, Garth Gayle applauded the gentlemen for their contribution to the sport of track and field, but was charging that he wants to see more females involved. The sports massage programme was first offered as a short programme at the certificate level back in 2004 but has been a formal diploma programme for the last two years. Honoree Patrick Watson is one of the first set of massage therapists to be trained at the college. The college has expanded the massage therapy programme and now offers along with the diploma part-time programme, short courses as well as a level II (intermediate) course.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Caribbean brand - affected by diversity

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) will be hosting a State of the Caribbean Tourism conference in St. Kitts this October 9 - 10. The aim of that conference is to look at a few areas, but primarily how to promote the Caribbean as a destination. Some of the specific thoughts being pushed are: * What are the similarities within the Caribbean Brand * What are the differences? * How will the team of policy makers, marketers, sales people come up with a programme specific to the region of any value to the world tourist? Those questions suggest one thing, the Caribbean's tourism product is diverse and may not be able to be packaged enough to sell as one product. Each destination within the region has its own look, feel, taste and touch and while the people may have lots of similarities, the messages are different. That may be ideal within one location, but what distinguishes the Caribbean as an outstanding Brand. The Caribbean is easy to get to from anywhere in the world, but within the region it is becoming more and more difficult to get to each island. So air seats are an issue. With the disappearance of Air Jamaica; reduced flights on LIAT the inter island travel has not been the most convenient. We should consider 'building bridges'. (Smile) What then is the common thread for the Caribbean? How will we solve the age old problem of attracting more visitors to the region? Reports have surfaced recently where tourism arrival figures are down in some islands; while some are experiencing small margins of growth, however, with an international recession; more first world countries are promoting within; the Caribbean will have to find more creative ways to promote and attract more visitors to the region. We anticipate a summary of the new and refurbished ideas as we hit 2013 and beyond.