JFF set to reap cash from merchandising side of kit deal

New kit deal set to bring well-needed funds to programme

Friday, February 27, 2015

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THE Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is set to finally earn significantly from the merchandising side of its US$4.8- million four-year kit deal with Dubai-based Romai Sportswear.

This new kit deal is the most lucrative in the federation's history, exceeding the last arrangement with Italian-based Kappa that was US$3.7 million (about $540 million at today's exchange rate), and which covered the programme for five years, but never included merchandising.

The deal, which was signed in Abu Dhabi on Friday, February 13, will see all 11 national teams, males and females, being outfitted by Romai, a company inaugurated in 2012. They will make available training gear and match gear which include shirts, shorts, socks, sweat suits, bags, caps, footballs and winter gear including gloves. Just about everything, except footwear.

Captain Horace Burrell, president of the JFF, in an address to the media at the local governing body's headquarters yesterday, noted that the gear will be ready in time for the senior Reggae Boyz when they take to the field in the Copa America in Chile in June.

The yearly allocation, according to the deal, is worth US$1.2 million, with the JFF being able to manoeuvre how much of that is used for equipment, and the rest being given in cash.

But it is the sales of replica gear which excites the JFF boss. "We knew from day one that Romai would be a good fit for the national programme, as it was a brand with stylish designs, a company on the cutting edge of modern corporate governance, has a strong passion for football and is part of a family with solid assets," Burrell had told the Jamaica Observer by telephone.

It was said that Cedella Marley, the brand ambassador and benefactor of the Reggae Girlz, has worked and continues to work closely with Romai in developing the designs for Jamaica's range of playing gear and other clothing.

"She has done a tremendous job with her creative designs, and I can tell you that when these designs become public, they will satisfy the most discerning of fashion tastes. Jamaica will be the envy of many," Burrell outlined.

Yesterday, Burrell added that Cedella Marley had also agreed to use the Bob Marley website, and this was a major part of the marketing plan to promote the replica gear.

"There is going to be worldwide distribution of the kit. They will be attractive and I guess, reasonable," he said.

Though no monetary figures were announced at yesterday's press conference, the Observer understands that the JFF stands to benefit by 25 per cent of the sales of replica gear sold be Romai Sportswear, and by 35 per cent of replica gear it sells.

"Countries in Central America, 95 per cent of their funds come from replica sales, and this is why companies like Nike go for these countries because they sell a lot of replica shirts, so based on the marketing plan that is designed, based on the quality and the attractiveness of the kit, I can tell you that we are in for some great times.

"The Romai owners are planning a massive launch. This is a huge company and they have a lot of capital, and brand Jamaica is very strong. They like brand Jamaica and they believe they can work wonders with it, so I'm very optimistic at this point," noted Burrell, who along with JFF general secretary Raymond Grant and Garth Savoury, marketing director, were in Abu Dhabi to sign the deal.

Meanwhile, Savoury noted that one aspect of the marketing plan was definitely Cedella Marley's use of the Marley website to connect with the late legend's huge worldwide fan club.

"Romai is going to be doing a global campaign -- there is one every six months -- and that will involve Cedella and some of our staff, that's the promotional aspect of it. Romai, itself, has a distribution channel of over a hundred countries," he advised.

"Marley fans can either access the replica gear on the Marley website or be linked to the JFF e-commerce website," he added, while noting that for the local market the mechanics are being worked on and will be announced in due course.

Captain Burrell stated that there was no signing bonus. "They said 'no, they are not into this'. But there are other ways, believe me, of making maybe 10 times what you would if you concentrate at all times on getting ready cash, you would be left behind in this world.

"You have to be able to look ahead, to anticipate and to prepare the ground for the advancement of the sales and so on...huge bucks..."

And regarding incentives, he said: "What we need to do is perform and once we do that the whole world will be opened to us. Performance, performance, performance. The incentives are going to be there and the sales are going to be driven by our performance. They are investing heavily in the marketing world-wide. In our last equipment deal you went to London and you couldn't get any (kit), you went to Japan and you couldn't get any, that was one of the difficulties, so we have moved beyond that and we have taken all the steps to ensure that items of kit are available worldwide, online, everywhere," he said.

-- Ian Burnett

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