Sealed deal! - Red Stripe confirmed as title sponsors of NPL
BY HOWARD WALKER Observer staff reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, November 04, 2011
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RED Stripe was yesterday confirmed as title sponsors of the National Premier League (NPL), but the financial details of the three-year deal was frustratingly shrouded in secrecy.
The much-anticipated press launch of the event at the Spanish Court Hotel was defeating for journalists in their attempts to decipher the sponsorship code, or the finer financial details of the agreement.
[Hide Description] Brewing Partnership: Renato Gonzalez (second right), managing director of Red Stripe and Edward Seaga (centre), chairman of the Premier League Clubs Association (PLCA) pose with Red Stripe products and footballs, signifying the alliance of both entities. Looking on (from left) are Carvel Stewart, PLCA deputy chairman; Dale Spencer, acting president of the Jamaica Football Federation, and Jomo Cato, head of marketing at Red Stripe. (Photo: Bryan Cummings)
After countless questions from different angles about how much the sponsorship was worth, Renato Gonzalez, the Brazilian managing director of Red Stripe; Jomo Cato, head of marketing at Red Stripe, and Edward Seaga, chairman of the Premier league Clubs Association (PLCA), all refused to give a direct answer.
"We won't go into the specific detail of the funding," was Gonzalez's terse response.
"This contract is much bigger than just the numbers. It is what we are putting into the communities, that's what is important," he said.
Said Seaga: "Every year we have completed our sponsorship programmes higher than the previous year and this year is no different. It will be higher than last year, significantly. The cash portion will be better."
Telecommunication giant Digicel was the last title sponsors of the league, ending a three-year $150 million deal at the end of the 2010/2011 season.
Since then, the PLCA had been unable to secure a sponsor and the season actually started without a major sponsor, but with several associate sponsors.
Beverage company Red Stripe has come on board to quench the financial thirst of the ailing Premier League clubs who were struggling to stay afloat with an annual budget of some $20 million.
"I woke up this morning with a smile on my face. It is definitely a great day for us all. As a Brazilian, there are many things that make me feel great about Jamaica. Out of many, one people! Out of many, one beer! One love!
"Today is a day that two major Jamaican passions come together again. Our Premier League football and our Red Stripe beer," Gonzalez exulted.
"This is an exciting journey that will be extremely positive for all parties. Red Stripe is an iconic Jamaican brand and one that we love dearly. Football is a global passion and the Premier League is deeply loved as well," said Gonzalez.
Red Stripe, according to Cato, will be focusing on three areas mainly -- the clubs, improved television broadcast and community activation.
"The feeling today is that we are living a marketer's dream. Today we kickoff what I know will be a tremendous partnership with the PLCA," said Cato.
"Firstly, we want to dramatically improve the consumer experience. We want a partnership that works; it is not just a sponsorship. We are on a mission that is much deeper than sponsorship.
"It's about listening to our fans and celebrating our passion for the 'beautiful game' and making sure whatever we do, it lifts the quality of football in Jamaica, together with the PLCA," he added.
Cato said fans can expect changes in the way they come to the communities to celebrate this game."Expect changes in the way the games are presented and a major change in working with the PLCA to showcase the players and the talents in Jamaica," he added.
Meanwhile, Seaga said negotiations were ongoing from last year and they were not unaccustomed to Red Stripe being a football sponsor.
"It has happened before and now it is happening again. It has taken us two months into the season to complete it," said Seaga.
With the deal now completed, the 12 clubs will be getting their regular funding at the end of every month. Additionally, they will be getting retroactive money from September when the league began.
"From the delay has come something we believe is a better product in terms of the funding and what the project will do and elevating the image of Red Stripe, the image of the PLCA and football in Jamaica," noted Seaga.
"We welcome the sponsors and the plans that they have. We look forward to a new beginning with Red Stripe at the helm," he added.
Red Stripe has previously supported football as a main sponsor of the national senior team and the Red Stripe Champions Cup between 2004-2007.
Most recently, they were associate sponsors of last season's Flow Champions Knockout Cup.
Red Stripe will be the fourth title sponsor in the past six years after long-time sponsors Wray and Nephew ended their association, somewhat abruptly, in 2006.
The liquor company was replaced by investment entity Cash Plus for the start of the 2007 season, but their association was cut short after Cash Plus crashed under a host of investigations and was deemed to be operating illegally.
Digicel took over, but their three-year deal expired last season.
Read more: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/sport/Red-Stripe-confirmed-as-title-sponsors-of-NPL_10088527#ixzz1cn0TE5dI