Posted in Branding, Caribbean, Management, Media, Music, Sport, Track and Field

ISSA and Schools’ Sports

KINGSTON, April 5 – The Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) is largely run by principals. The group, since 1910 would have been the hosts of the Boys Championships and in 1999 merged with the Games Mistresses’ Association to host the now super Boys and Girls Championships. Over the years the competition has increased its schedule and now runs for five days – Tuesdays to Saturdays.

Since the 1900s the marketing world has seen a myriad of changes, take a walk here and see how it has evolved

The platforms looked at radio, telephone, television, computers with a whole range of look and feel. The messaging ranged from men with moustaches, women in suits and now a robotic image could be the messenger depending on who the message is for. The point is marketing has changed.

Stadium in Kingston

Sporting events and franchises have embraced the changes and those who have, have impacted on their markets in a positive way, and while those who haven’t continue to lag behind and to some extent have lost fans because of their inability to incorporate new methods of communicating with a sophisticated audience.

Let’s look at the last ten years though, how marketing has changed. Here are some ways it has impacted on the market and how consumers can interact with each other and the stars:
• Online selling for anyone – technologies advance and with more people learning and gaining access
• Smart phones have fortunately ushered in the mobility era for technology, a time when devices have to be designed in ways that make them more portable while offering an extensive range of features. For business and marketing. This has created an excellent opportunity to become innovative in terms of promotions and sales.
• Social Media based marketing should make it difficult to find a business that does not make use of social media marketing nowadays. Social media has become a staple in modern marketing and in establishing an online presence. Twitter and Facebook are playing major roles. Failing to use them mean foregoing some of the surest ways to reach an audience and successfully promote a product or service.

The sophistication with which marketing has grown and developed has not seen some organisations adopting some of the principles required to embrace those developments and I believe ISSA is one such group. The principal training and development programme even after the upgrading process does not necessarily include some of these courses. I would also hazard a guess that even though so many of the school leaders have post graduate qualification and training; not many have training in Marketing, Business Development and/or Sport Management or Marketing.


The CHAMPS event is a phenomena and is probably, consistently one of Jamaica’s biggest event, held each year March/April. It includes over 2,000 athletes with possibly equal number of officials, close to 500 track and field officials; up to 50,000 fans, some of whom have been relegated to watching on TV in Jamaica. A good 20 per cent of the Diaspora is also tuned in. Attracting up to 150 press representatives per year since the World Junior track and field championships in 2002…the eyes of the world are on Jamaica.

This year alone, the event attracted five IAAF officials (seeking votes), who are also on a trek across the region, finding their way into St. Kitts & Nevis for the 44th Carifta Track and Field Championships. Champs is what is the measuring stick for all events going forward.

What is a striking omission is the principals remain slow on the uptake of the value of this event. The recommendation in a Jamaica Observer editorial that a professional event management team may need to intervene is one I would support. These are times when efforts worthy of collaboration should be seen as an opportunity for the country to combine its efforts for the greater good. Cynicism has no place here. As with all national efforts, we should embrace those with the best skills sets to deliver the world class product Champs really is.

I won’t address the ticket debacle and even the atrocities of the ambush marketing with the monopolies we are restricted to. But as Jamaica continues to box above its weight class, we have become accustomed to being pioneers in the creative sphere. We must however maintain and surpass the standards we set and be willing to admit errors and move to correct them within reason. Some of us spend too much time making excuses.

In terms of policy, the peculiarities with the acquisition of services in the creative sector ought to be addressed in a country so rich with these skills and although we are keen on accountability it is important we acknowledge the global picture. Jamaica’s efforts can be focused on hosting events in a number of creative areas and once we realise how competitive we are – then we may just figure a way out of the economic hardship.

I am offering along with other experts I know to train, bring about a greater awareness to the ISSA Marketing Sub Committee, who I hope would be willing to explore some thoughts to make this CHAMPS event bigger and better, and even EXTRAORDINARY if you please. ( I know most of you are laughing).



A sport aficionado who writes, researches and presents on everything sport. A second book is out to prove her work's reach. She reads in her spare time.

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