One has to look at the Franchise model, so carefully managed in the United States and wonder if Jamaica can adopt that model for its top sporting disciplines. What Jamaica requires is a set of fans who will stick with the teams through thick and thin and to support by purchasing tickets, merchandise, travel packages when the team plays away among other things.
A fan is described as a person who is enthusiastically devoted. Collectively these fans show appreciation by part of a club, hold conventions, collect merchandise, send fan mail and promote their teams as the ‘best’ in the business.
Fans usually have a strong enough interest to change their lifestyles as the sport and its events become the centre piece of their lives. And now with Social Media – fans post online their views on a player, team, coach and anything else they feel like. Some of the comments could be filtered, but we understand.
To get back to the Franchise model – the system ought to create a communications and marketing plan which allows fans to acquire
- Season passes to games
- Access to the athletes
- Pre-season, post season preparation and celebration
What this does is create an opportunity for a community to be involved in the development of the team. Organisations ought to trust consumers to become a part of the development of the team.
When the Local Government system was developed by the late Norman Washington Manley, it was intended that the local leadership would provide the gateway for all things community to emerge including sport.
Sport as an industry is based on two basic things:
- performance of the team
- support of the fans
A franchise sets up that relationship in a very special way. The almost 630 billion US dollar industry presents a compelling opportunity for Jamaica to eke out an area of a sector which the country has a competitive advantage – Sport.
So far, the country has the infrastructure for technical preparation, but there is greater need for additional human resource support, physical infrastructure, a wider pool of athletes and of course funds ($$$$$).
The franchise model should be seen as an option for football, cricket and netball in the initial stage; assessed and see what happens after three years.