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Domino gets lots of love

Dragon pumps $10m in efforts to take popular game to new heights

Observer staff reporter

Saturday, February 24, 2018

In a strategic move to uplift the game both locally and internationally, Dragon Stout has stepped forward to partner with local bodies as main sponsor for the first-ever World Domino Championships.

Dragon Stout plans to invest over $10 million throughout the various leagues across the island run by Jamaica Domino Council Association and the Portmore, Western and Portland Domino Associations.

The announcement was made by Imru James, brand manager of Stouts and Malta at Red Stripe, during the launch of the championships held at Gee Wee Car Park in Kingston on Thursday.

“When we were at Red Stripe thinking about what can we do with Dragon to connect with our consumers, dominoes was the first thing that came to mind — and so for us it was really a no-brainer.

“What better way to reach out to the people who enjoy our brand? What better way to make an impact on a game that so many people care about? And what better way to celebrate a pastime that's enjoyed by Jamaicans everywhere?

“Dominoes is played in over 40 countries. It is a global sport played competitively and we have some really excellent players here in Jamaica. And for us, with Dragon and our partnership with the various leagues and associations, we really want to export this talent overseas. We want to show them what Jamaica has to offer,” said James.

The Red Stripe official thinks there is an opportunity for Jamaica to dominate the game in the same way the island has in global sprinting.

“We are actually dominating track and field and we want to end up dominating dominoes when it comes on to that global sport. And so this year, what we are doing with Dragon and our domino associations is that we want to invest over $10 million not only in Dragon Stout World Domino Championships, but also through the various leagues that we are sponsoring,” James revealed.

Currently the Domino League format in Jamaica is divided into five regions comprising the Portmore, Western, St Elizabeth, Eastern and the Kingston leagues with Dragon as main sponsor.

All teams within the five leagues will do battle for the number one spot to see who can acquire the title of first-ever 'Dragon Stout World Domino Champion'.

The leagues began competing last week Sunday (February 18) and will finish in June. The Championship team of each league will receive $100,000, second place $50,000, while third place will walk away with $25,000.

The Dragon Stout World Domino Championships, which will be a knockout tournament, has top prize of $300,000. Second place will walk away with $200,000 and third place will get $100,000 for their efforts.

The winner of the Dragon Stout World Domino Championships will get the opportunity to go overseas to compete.

Sport Minister Olivia “Babsy” Grange, in giving her full endorsemnt to the Dragon Stout World Domino Championships, said that her ministry will be pushing the sport to reach Olympic status.

“In 2010, I as the minister with responsibility for sport declared domino an official national sport, and Jamaica has supported the call for domino to be added to the list of Olympic sports. Getting national recognition is the first stage towards getting the International Olympic Committee to make the sport eligible for the Games.

“In 2012 Jamaica hosted the 10th annual Domino World Championships in Montego Bay under the auspices of the International Domino Federation and Jamaica's National Association of Domino Bodies. More than 20 countries and over 650 players attended. I have always said dominoes promotes team spirit and forces you to think and to strategise,” she said.

Donovan Bailey, assistant president and treasurer of the International Council of Domino), welcomed the sponsorship from Dragon Stout.

“This is something that we have been working on for many years in terms of getting a good sponsor on board. We have been organising international matches, we have been organising local matches, and so now with Dragon seeing the platform that we have set decided to put million of dollars behind it, and we do appreciate it,” he said.

President of multi-time champions Caribbean Classics Domino Team, Rupert Pryce is excited by the prospects.

“I welcome Dragon Stout on board as the first major corporate sponsor of the league. Dominoes is a sport I have enjoyed playing for many years, but it has also been a sport that many have not taken seriously, and as a result lacked sponsorship — but Dragon will change that,” Pryce noted.