‘Structure has returned to Jamaica’s professional football,’ says Digicel’s Parkinson
PARKINSON...I call it a new kind of energy because when you look at the enthusiasm about the games, it is not restricted to Jamaica’s jurisdiction only (Photo: Dwayne Richards)

HEAD of public relations at Digicel Elon Parkinson went to bat for the Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL) on Friday at a press conference held at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, ahead of today’s final of the Jamaica Premier League which will be played between Dunbeholden and Harbour View at Sabina Park starting at 6:00 pm.

Parkinson referred to what is currently happening in Jamaica’s top flight league as a “rebirth”.

“It has been apparent now for a good 18 months or so and that is why we are associated with essentially the re-birth of professional football in Jamaica.

“I call it a new kind of energy because when you look at the enthusiasm about the games, it is not restricted to Jamaica’s jurisdiction. You go abroad [and] people are talking about our professional football league,” he said.

Parkinson insisted that his pronouncements were not emotional but rather backed by statistics.

“In fact, you only have to look at the social media statistics, and the amount of shares and the videos that go out there, and the awestruck comments that come in from people because of the sheer brilliance in the football that people are seeing.”

He believes it is these unique things about Jamaicans which have contributed to the league’s return in such a big way.

“This speaks to the ‘can do it’ approach that we have in Jamaica, that we continue to punch well above our weight. When we recognise that we need to push harder, we absolutely do; and so structure was added to Jamaica’s professional football and we are seeing the result of it today.”

The response from fans of all walks of life helps to reiterate that, Parkinson suggested.

“I am so proud to hear Chris [Williams] talk about VIP and VVIP being sold out, and also now managing people’s expectations in coming into Sabina Park. It tells you that structure has returned to Jamaica’s professional football, and this is why Digicel is part of it.”

Digicel committed $450 million over three years on the return of the Jamaica Premier League in 2021, and Parkinson said that the investment made by the company is designed to make the fan experience that much better.

“That $450-million sponsorship over three years…is not only an investment in ensuring that football maintains the kind of professional structure that it has, but also that it reaches far and wide.

“When it comes on to far and wide we are talking coverage, we are talking speed, and that is where our investments come in, in terms of ensuring that we develop a super-fast LTE mobile data network, along with our fibre network, so that our customers can watch SportsMax with utmost clarity and get the best audio, glitch-free streaming from anywhere in Jamaica.”

He also informed that almost everyone in Jamaica can access their mobile network, ensuring that watching the premier league is virtually hassle-free.

“We are very proud to let you know that we have 99 per cent population coverage for LTE. That’s super-fast mobile data service, and what that means for our customers is that they are able to enjoy Sunday’s game if they can’t get to make it into Sabina Park because already VVIP and VIP are sold out and very likely the regular tickets are going to go very quickly.”

Digicel will be complementing the on-field action with a super half-time show that will be hosted by ZJ Sparks and ZJ Vybz.

“So, it’s that level of engagement and enthusiasm that we are looking forward to on Sunday. The fans are going to be out — either virtually or right there with us in the stands — and we are promising to have a really great half-time show, with lots of giveaways, in the stands. We are inviting everybody to participate…and we are going to be doing some amazing things,” he informed.

Parkinson lauded the PFJL for a well-run league this season and hinted at being around for a long time to come.

“Job well done this season. We look forward to further collaboration, we love the new level of energy that you have brought to the game, and we hope that you continue it moving forward,” he concluded.

— Dwayne Richards

Dwayne Richards

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