Red Stripe signs 5-year Premier League deal

Red Stripe signs 5-year Premier League deal

BY SANJAY MYERS Observer staff reporter

Friday, September 05, 2014

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RED Stripe's five-year deal with the nation's Premier League is indicative of their long-term commitment to football, according to Cedric Blair, the beer company's managing director.

The brewing firm confirmed the partnership during the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL) launch at their base along Spanish Town Road on Wednesday evening, providing a boost to clubs and other stakeholders.

"Giving the Premier League a level of commitment over five years gives assurance and also gives us a chance to really think through how we could continue to improve the product because one to two years can make an impact, but five years can help to transform the league," Blair said.

The 2014-15 season is scheduled to begin on Sunday with a full slate of matches.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Captain Horace Burrell welcomed the renewal of the partnership with Red Stripe.

"I'm very, very happy because certainly this year, at one point it seemed as though we might not have had a sponsor and the fact that Red Stripe has stepped up makes me feel somewhat satisfied," the JFF boss said.

Red Stripe sponsored top-flight football for the previous three seasons for a publicly undisclosed sum and while also remaining tight-lipped on the per-annum outlay of the current deal, the company's brand manager Erin Mitchell did confirm it's a bigger investment this time around.

"It's bigger and it's a significant portion of our budget. Of course, we are paying for the production of a television show, activation every Monday Night and we are also doing stuff at the Sunday matches," she told the Jamaica Observer.

Anthony Patrick, the head coach of last season's runners-up Waterhouse FC, said he is "really happy to see Red Stripe continuing their support" in local football and added that the "five-year deal is a major boost" for all the clubs.

Meanwhile, the Red Stripe managing director said the world-famous brewery was not put off by the JFF-proposed franchise football system, hoped to be implemented by 2015-16, despite strident concerns pushed forward by the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA), in particular.

"We don't know exactly how the franchise system would work, but we are hoping to work with the PLCA and with the JFF. Everybody has the best interest of football... how we want to go about it might be slightly different.

"I think in the end we are going to have a product that people will love and people will come out and support. We will be there to support the Premier League in Jamaica because we are supporting the communities and we want to give back," Blair insisted.

The JFF boss is confident of holding onto the bond with Red Stripe going into the new franchise era.

"They have committed to the next five years and this is great news because next year we are supposed to be moving to the franchise system. I know Red Stripe is committed to football development and I'm sure when the franchise system is properly explained...when it is properly fleshed out, I am sure that Red Stripe will be a part of it," said the former army man.

The current RSPL format consists of 12 teams. The franchise system, set to be accompanied by sweeping changes to the face of the country's football, is proposed to comprise of 10 outfits for the nation's top-flight football.


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