Brand Jamaica Via Sport: Prospects for Economic Growth and Investment

The following is presentation delivered by Founder and President of the Business of Sport, Jamaica, and publicist for track and Field star, Usain Bolt, Ms. Carole Beckford, at the international academic conference, ‘Sport: Probing the Boundaries’, held in Salzburg, Austria, November 7-9, 2012.


A country-by-country breakdown finds that the sports industry is growing faster than GDP both in fast-growing economies, such as the booming BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China), and in more mature markets in Europe and North America (A.T. Kearney). Where does Jamaica fall in the Sports Value Chain? I look at this below:

Sports Value Chain


  • Properties – what is it that draws fans with money – leagues, competitions
  • Rights Management – gate receipts and the media and marketing rights
  • Events Management – live event – EXPERIENCE (which is where JAMAICA has an advantage)
  • Content Packaging – a venue has certain limitations, however, how information is packaged for media and sponsors are critical

Twenty20 Cricket is an example of what a sport has done to create a wider fan base for the sport. The standard game is five days and the Twenty20 shortened the game, made it friendlier for television and as a result got far more interest in its television fan base. The ICC World 20/20 was won by the West Indies with exciting performances by two Jamaicans, former Captain Chris Gayle and all-rounder Marlon Samuels. Larger economies have used EVENTS to (1) Drive sport consumption and (2) Encourage investments. By showing that they are a trusted and credible location for the hosting of these MAJOR events and while that is happening the Governments and private sector (or special interest groups) have partnered to lure investments to the respective countries.

Hosting Sporting Events in Jamaica

usain-boltJamaica has been hosting major events in the island from as far back as 1966 when it hosted the Commonwealth Games in Kingston. The country had received its independence in 1962. Jamaica was the first Caribbean country to host such an event. There are two issues with this: Wide recognition received with the prestige of hosting such an event and vast amount of resources along with social and economic commitment to stage the event. The following is a list of major sports event staged in Jamaica since 1971:

  • 1971 – World Netball Championship – 3rd
  • 1993 – Johnnie Walker Golf
  • 2002 – World Junior Track and Field Championships
  • 2003 – World Netball Championships
  • 2004 – World Volleyball Championship Qualifier
  • 2007 – World Cup Cricket (ODI)
    • League matches
    • One semi final

The country has also been the centre of the region for sports by hosting several regional events in several sporting disciplines to include – football, golf, basketball, cricket, netball, track and field, volleyball, boxing, tennis to name a few. What Jamaica  has also done is categorise sports based on demand, consumption and its positioning as location which hosts major sporting events

  • Core Sports – which Jamaicans participate in for international excellence and is popular among the people at all levels (track and field, football, netball, basketball and cricket)
  • Targeted Sports – these are mostly individual sport which the country has had international prominence, though not consistently – badminton, Taekwondo, equestrian, tennis, golf
  • Sport for all – coordinated by the combined efforts of Sport, Education and Youth Ministries to focus on school and community Sport
  • Network Sport – those with the greatest opportunity to get attention to the destination that does not necessarily include a competitor from the country.

 Sports Tourism

With Sport Tourism becoming one of the fastest growth areas of Tourism – sporting events that can have an impact include:

  • World Events
  • National Events with international relevance – Qualifiers
  • Local sporting events – national relevance and value and select international audience
    • Boys and Girls Championship – track and field
    • High School Football Festival
    • Collegiate Sport Festivals
    • Community Sport

The collaboration has to take place among the public and private sectors, sports and cultural industries and academia. It must also develop programmes that are planned for sustainability,  that attract international media attention along with positive PR, create jobs and use events as an incentive to upgrade and improve facilities. The benefit is knowledge and technology transfer and domestic pride. Of course ,Jamaica has to focus on events which work:

  • Best use of facilities
  • Select sporting areas which have the best ROI
  • Best use of human resources
  • Best ability for the country to earn
  • Best opportunity for job creation
  • Best value from Public Relations

The nation can also empower communities to host multiple event, go after regional competitions – CARICOM community, Caribbean and Latin Ameri, Networking events, as well as Major and Mega events.


Carole Beckford

Carole Beckford

Carole Beckford is the President and Founder of The Business of Sport, and Publicist for global track and field icon, Usain Bolt.


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