Corporate sponsors needed for real growth to occur in sport — JOA CEO

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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There is a new way of doing business at the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA), and that is the “business way”.

The “cap in hand approach” has been thrown out the window and partnerships — strategic partnerships — are being sought to make Jamaica a financially viable sporting enclave. This is the vision of the JOA and this is the message being transmitted across the length and breadth of Jamaica.

According to CEO Ryan Foster, corporate sponsors are needed for real growth to occur in sport, as “solidarity funding” alone cannot get the job done.

“As most people would be aware, the JOA is funded predominantly through the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Pan American Sporting Organization. To move away from just being dependent on solidarity funding which the allocation of those funds are pretty much determined, there are specific programmes through which you can apply for solidarity funding. For us to really grow the sports we would need corporate sponsors to invest in not just sport but nation building. Sport is one arm for nation growth and development,” Foster declared.

He believes that corporate sponsors need to get a clear understanding of what is involved in sport, all the things that make up sport, and how it is that they can affect the development of sport.

“The truth is corporate sponsors have to look at it from the standpoint that these athletes, the administrators, the families of these athletes and the families of these administrators depend on sport for a living. And it is not just them, you have the sport apparel persons that sell these athletes the equipment etc, those persons are also depending on the athletes and administrators for a sale. Then the whole avenue of reporting and television etc, those persons depend on content from our athletes in terms of the games and the performances.”

Foster is also offering sponsors more, much more than they are accustomed to.

“Now if a corporate sponsor was to look at the impact of sport they would have to look at it holistically, from the trickle-down effect, from the administrators, the managers, the athletes etc, and of course the fans. For sport to grow you will need additional funding outside of the basic solidarity type funding. And one of the things that we are purporting to do this year and up to the next Olympics is to engage them in a holistic way, whereby they can buy into all the sporting associations with one pool of funds.

“By that I mean, when a corporate sponsor comes on board they are not just investing in a 'Games' or just investing in an event, they are investing in the overall JOA and its member associations. So by investing, whether that money is a dollar or one hundred million dollars, they will get access to all our member associations,” he carefully outlined.

The value proposition being offered is one that is expected to redound to the benefit of all involved and ultimately to nation building, a main focus of the JOA.

“That approach creates value for the corporate sponsor because instead of investing individually in the individual sports, he gets the benefit of giving one type of investment but gets access to all member associations. That goes very well from a branding and presence standpoint, but on the flip side we have to show the corporate sponsor the value of that investment, and the best way to show the value of that investment is turning that investment into potential revenue for them.”

After crunching the numbers, Foster believes that what is being offered to corporate sponsors is a sure win as he brings to them a captive audience and potentially tens of thousands of customers.

“If you were to look at all the member associations for the JOA, which is about 41, whether directly or indirectly, there are over 10 thousand persons that are participating in sports. By directly I mean the athletes, the coaches etc, but then there is also the families of these athletes and coaches that do utilise the products and services of these corporate sponsors. So we now need to engage our members to participate and to take up some of these products and services of our potential sponsors.”

This new approach, Foster insists, will be a win-win for both the sponsors and Jamaica at large.

“It's not just a sponsor coming and placing a feather banner. In a real way we can convert that investment into the sporting associations back into a potential sale of their products and services of our partners. So they are no longer just partners, they are stakeholders and they get it both ways — from the investment in sport which helps in the overall nation growth and development, but also from a brand presence and brand alignment with what is considered success from growth and development in our country.And from the sale side, these 10 thousand-strong or more are now potential customers of our corporate sponsors.”

Value is being offered, value is being assured, and should corporate entities buy into the new JOA vision then a new paradigm is sure to arise in the business of sports on the island.

“That is the way the JOA will be engaging our sponsors —not just to come and give us a money and put up a feather banner but we are saying — hey, you can get the branding, you can get the brand alignment, you can get access to all our member associations. But not just access in a way that you can just brand and participate, but in a way that you can engage them, and now they are potential customers of theirs.”

— Dwayne Richards




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