CHINESE sporting equipment manufacturers 361 Degrees International Limited has signed a lucrative multi-million dollar long-term deal to outfit officials at the ISSA Boys' and Girls' Championships for the next five years, from 2013 to 2017.
According to Ajani Williams, an agent for the company in Jamaica, the deal could be worth in excess of $125 milion in cash and kind over five years. The Chinese-based company replaces long-time sponsors PUMA.
Yesterday, Williams told the Jamaica Observer that this was "possibly their most significant deal" in the country, given the "historical context of 'Champs', which is one of our national treasurers".
Williams said they were happy with the signing of six Jamaican athletes, including Olympic relay gold medallist Michael Frater, former world champion Brigitte Foster-Hylton and world relay gold medallist Dexter Lee, but added that their partnership with ISSA had the scope for more significant investment in Jamaica's youth and its track and field product.
The deal will be worth $25 million in the first year and will increase by 15 per cent in the fourth and fifth years. It will see 361 Degrees outfitting staff and workers at 'Champs' with shirts, pants and footwear, plus providing other "amenities", which could include bags and caps.
Additionally, Williams said the new deal would significantly increase the cash outlay to ISSA to help in covering the cost of the event which has grown to four-and-a-half days this year.
A release from 361 Degrees, the third-largest sporting goods manufacturers in China, said they were "pleased to have secured sponsorship to this prestigious Boys' and Girls' Championships, a property we have been pursuing for over three years".
This partnership, a release said, would benefit not just the event and the ISSA organisation, "but also expand opportunities for the youths across Jamaica... We continue to believe that Jamaica's track and field is number one in the world with no close second place and... is a major segment of 361 Degrees' brand strategy in the People's Republic of China."
Aside from the sponsorship of 'Champs', Williams said come 2014, the company will make athletics equipment available to most schools "at an affordable cost".
Last year, 361 Degrees sponsored 13 schools at 'Champs', with the top five getting additional training gear. However, the new initiative would target those that have not attracted sponsorships from other sporting goods companies.