Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Caribbean, Coaching, Cricket, Jamaica, Sports, Track and Field

Caribbean is ready for the Business of Sport

On an island, October 10 – The call for a Caribbean Sport Summit has not gone unnoticed. The Caribbean has over the last decade experienced significant exposure for its elite athletes in the sporting areas of track and field, basketball, NFL, netball, cricket and swimming. Football has received considerable exposure with players competing for several professional teams worldwide, but no team from this region has been to the World Cup.

There are direct results which can be used to measure success in sporting terms

  1. How many medals has the Caribbean won at the Summer Olympic Games since 2004 in Athens?
  2. How many countries’ teams have gone to the World Cup Football since 2006?
  3. How many other teams have been ranked in the top three in the world in any sport?
  4. How many more tourists are coming to the region because of sport?
  5. How have media earnings increased because of well negotiated media rights?

The answer to these questions can provide a general status of the Caribbean Sport Economy. There are some additional factors which we can use to judge success or maybe in this case progress. For example, a number of universities have added a comprehensive sport curriculum to their academic calendar. That is indeed a positive signal as it indicates a strong intention to train people to support the growth and further development of the sport industry.

The global sporting picture looks great with an estimated value of US$504 million. The alarming sport betting figure is over a trillion dollars. And the USA with a considerable sport market share will, according to Forbes, grow to $73.5 million by 2019. Those are all great signs. How then can the Caribbean capitalise and maximise its earnings from this industry?

Five years ago, a group of professionals – attorneys, business planner and a sport management expert joined forces to create The Business of Sport. The business, based in Jamaica hosted conferences and workshops which focused on dialog and results on issues relating to

  • Branding
    • Companies and Athletes
  • Marketing
  • Event planning
  • Media Rights
  • Use of Social media
  • Social issues in Sport
  • Use of Technology in Sport
  • Athlete Management
  • Intellectual Property
  • Role of Athletes

Since then many federations have changed formats of their competitions; changed approach to their programmes and consulted with varying performance programmes aimed at attracting more investment and better athletes. That discussion continues.

What should now happen is, as we approach 20 years after the start of the millennium, all concerned should be reorganising policies and programmes while maintaining contact with resources which can help to maintain and improve standards all around.

The Summits are sometimes largely a “talk shop” however, there are relationships that can be strengthened to bring a greater focus on sport as a tool for economic development for the Caribbean. The 2017 version of The Business of Sport is scheduled for Kingston, May 18 & 19. Information on the schedule will be out soon where you can register to participate. In the meantime, follow us on https://www.facebook.com/businessofsport/

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Posted in Advertising, Athletes, Branding, Cricket, Jamaica, Media, Sport, Sports

Caribbean Sport Business…or not?

 

April 9 – The history of sport suggests it was built purely for entertainment. In the development of modern sport regardless of where it came from, the Industrial Revolution and mass production brought increased leisure which offered an opportunity for people to have more time to engage in playing or watching, and later gambling on spectator sports. These phenomena somewhat helped to allow less elitism in and offered greater accessibility of sports of many kinds. Mass media and global communication + professionalism then became prevalent in sports, and this pushed the envelope making sport one of the biggest industries today.

TBOS logo Small

Former British Prime Minister, John Major said in 1995 – We invented the majority of the world’s great sports…19th century Britain was the cradle of a leisure revolution every bit as significant as the agricultural and industrial revolutions we launched in the century before. Cricket, being a popular sport in Britain, had its own evolution – and when John Leach write in 2005 he explained that political, social and economic conditions in the aftermath of the Restoration (1660) encouraged excessive gambling, so much so that a Gambling Act was deemed necessary in 1664. He went to suggest that cricket, horse racing and boxing (i.e., prize fighting) were financed by gambling interests. Leach explained that it was the habit of cricket patrons, all of whom were gamblers, to form strong teams through the 18th century to represent their interests.

The rise of professional sport worldwide though created what was thought at the time to be a balance between work and leisure and while sport was largely seen as entertainment, there were more and more opportunities being created for athletes to earn significant sums of money from a routine which made them fit, competitive and in some cases, depending on the sport, strong.

ProSports

The path along which sport’s history has coincided with wars and other important social development, still contend that professional sport goes against what is considered the ethos of sport, that is, pure enjoyment rather than earning a living from sport. That debate will never end. However, in 2016 and beyond, even though amateur athletes outnumber professional athletes, far more are earning a living from sport.

With salaries for sure, there will be disputes and the incredible mix of athlete, agent, manager, publicist, sponsor, endorsements provide and create a conundrum for those who want to benefit and those who contribute to the beneficiaries. Also how could I not add the mix of media rights and now the latest social media. A simple example is – if you can rack up millions of followers on any of the platforms, an athlete’s value can be enhanced tremendously even with basic representation in the sport on the field of play.

The world’s 100 best/highest paid athletes cumulatively banked $3.2 billion over the last 12 months according to Forbes http://www.forbes.com/athletes/list/#tab:overall

Among the biggest sport contract now on the table is a US$325 million 13-year contract for Miami Marlins’, Giancarlo Stanton, which makes him earn an average of US$154,000 per game.

I want to talk about pay disputes and professional sport and list a few things that are common worldwide and in going forward how the Caribbean, specifically Cricket, can benefit from this process. Labour relations models for sport exist popularly in US Sport but there are several things we can learn. Salary caps, limiting to how much athletes can be paid, form one part of the puzzle and the Franchise system which has been implemented for West Indies Cricket can facilitate that for starters. The truth is, the Caribbean countries may have little resources to invest, however, if each country makes significant investment in the sport sector, athletes will be able to exist in a more enabling environment.

Salary caps determine an interesting rivalry between owners, in this case, WICB and WIPA and the players and sets a tone for the emergence of free agency, which is this case, the players who are not retained whether in the elite list of 15; the 90 first class players or the 11 women. As the formula is now, the lion share of the available funds say that the 15 elite players earn 57 per cent of the overall earnings of WI Cricket’s pot and the reaming 43 per cent is shared among the rest (101 players including 11 women).

The collective bargaining agreement process is also another way and the West Indies Players Association (WIPA) has made attempts to get this right… in spite of the differences that players feel not enough is being done, the methodology to get to the most suitable place is being sought. Sharing revenues and power is quite an irony, as there isn’t one without the other. Players know that and so their role is to get as much as is available. At some point though the value of the purse has to be declared and that sharing has to be based on that figure. WIPA and the WICB have exposed its figures and so the current set up, which has seen adjustments and increases in instances is what currently entails. See details of how WIPA has shown the categories of earnings for cricketers in the region http://jamaica-star.com/article/sports/20160215/here-are-numbers-hinds-responds-sammy-outlines-payment-packages

Some sporting discipline use the salary cap methodology, while baseball for example uses what is called a payroll tax, which taxes salaries over an agreed amount. The enforcement of salary caps may be a good method of control in a market where the investment in sport through endorsements is high. Sport today is largely affected by market conditions, such as media broadcast rights, ticketing/attendance, subscriptions, deals with venues, hospitality suite rentals, social media hits for exposure among a few other variables.

PayDispute

Owners may and will have to determine how to re-engage players/athletes so both benefit one way or another. There is an important role for corporate and public sector to agree on a few things to make this model work in the Caribbean and if this region, which boasts one of the highest numbers of elite athletes per capita can’t see the opportunity for sport as a sector to flourish, then we are much further behind than we really think. The rich legacy of sport in the Caribbean must be protected and enhanced. Sport, is not only big business, but it is a career choice for many and should be welcomed. However, it is important to use existing models – combine them and see what works best for us. Here’s to better Physical Education programmes in the schools, more investment from Governments and their subsidiaries, sustainable incorporation of high performance programmes, well-paid athletes and a Caribbean Sport industry we can all be proud of.

Carole has 29 years of experience in journalism in several subject areas, but suggests her work in sport administration, management and publishing are her greatest achievements.

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Caribbean, Jamaica, Management, Media, Music, Sport

Marcia Forbes – the Phase 3 story

March 9 – Family life, work and travel are just three things that get Marcia Forbes excited. The first quarter of 2016 will just add even more joy to her life when the family is expected to welcome a baby. This will be Marcia’s first grandchild. Those are just some of the things that gets this hard-working, conscientious, caring woman on the go.

She is considered a social-media expert for more than one reason. She tweets a lot, with focus mainly on social issues; she posts across Instagram and Facebook and even runs live videos via Periscope. But Marcia is also a renowned author of social-media related matters through her 2012 publication – STREAMING: #Social Media, Mobile Lifestyles – 219 pages of relevant and often humorous short stories to explain and support findings from primary research on youth engagement via social networks and mobile phones.

Marcia’s role as an author throws back to her 2010 Music, Media & Adolescent Sexuality in Jamaica, a 224-pages account of “an extremely critical corner of the popular cultural landscape”, as described by the late Emeritus Professor, Barrington Chevannes. That book as well as STREAMING is known by university students in Jamaica where they stand as required or recommended text for a number of courses.

Marcia Forbes 2

Phase Three Productions Limited

So let me take you from the books for a while as we take you on a journey with this woman who heads one of the most diverse production companies in the Caribbean region and whose company accolades match up to the competitors in the international market. With just over 30 years in the business, Phase Three Productions Limited is a leading multi-media and television production company that specializes in large scale live sporting and entertainment events in high-definition format. That’s quite a mouthful.

This is the company that Marcia, her husband Richard, their son Delano and the Phase Three team have built. The company can boast a number of national, regional and international projects under its belt. World Cup Qualifiers football matches, CONCACAF Champions League matches played in Jamaica are examples of Phase Three’s ability to measure up to the rigours of producing content for worldwide distribution.

Phase 3 Productions

The family-owned organisation employs up to 100 freelancers on a regular and consistent basis along with its cadre of full time staff. The investment in cutting-edge technologies and equipment is just one of the many reasons why Phase Three is still in the business and can compete anywhere, anytime. Its support services for international crews and overseas media include logistic solutions and equipment. Training is ongoing to keep its staff and cadre of freelancers au fait with global services and the company’s integrity intact.

Marcia and her team firmly believe that “what people see and hear about themselves are what that nation comes to believe and accepts as its identity.” The company is committed to ensuring that the best comes out at all times. “Every service delivery, must positively position Jamaica,” says Marcia. Since 2012 the number of hours of local content the company has produced has increased, from 323 hours in 2012 to approximately 500 hours in 2014. What is even more instructive for this level of content is that up to 70 per cent of it is shown not just on Jamaican television, but a significant amount is shown overseas.

In 2013 for example, a total of 54 hours of one project was broadcast to the Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, USA, Canada and a few other regions. That was as a result of Phase Three being an integral part of providing nine days of coverage of the CONCACAF Under 17 Women’s Football, live from Montego Bay. Sport forms a considerable amount of content in the output from Phase Three. But the company also covers a healthy staple of entertainment and corporate events.

Some of the local television shows that have had the company’s input include: Wray and Nephew Contender (live boxing), Talk up Yout (social issues), Red Stripe Premier Football Mondays, Flow Champions Cup, Arthur Guinness Day Live and KFC On the Verge to name a few…

So let’s go back just over a decade ago when Marcia’s son and senior partner, Delano Forbes, fresh from NYU, was a winning music video Director. The now CEO and Television Director can boast that he won awards for Best Music Video of the Year in 2002, 2003 and 2004 – presented by the Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU). The Hideaway video with winner of NBC’s The Voice, Tessanne Chin, was also directed by Delano. So what we are talking about here inside Phase Three is a mix of technical, management and diverse offering all rolled in one.

Delano

Marcia really believes that the 290-billion-dollar global television industry has no place for anyone who is lazy; neither does it have any place for someone who is not willing to improve through training and development. Phase Three, constantly adjusting and re-fitting to meet the market’s needs, is clear on its mission to produce world-class audio-visual content for global consumption. They know very well of the competition in the region but are prepared to dive in strategically to provide needed services.

This is just a piece of the Phase Three story. And there is more, about Marcia…the university lecturer, the former nurse, the motivational speaker and the woman whose work has been recognised by her peers and more. We also will explore her work in volunteerism. Until next time…. here’s to Phase Three.

 

Posted in Branding, Leadership, Management, Sport

Ten Things An Athlete Must Always Remember

Saturday, January 9 – This week could almost be described a distraction to sports. After news flashed about the off the field matters of cricket’s Chris Gayle, football’s YaYa Toure and Luis Suarez, we now know that the off the field activities are scrutinized even more than ever. We also see where the IAAF and FIFA continue to make the news for boardroom issues rather than the next World Cup or Olympic Games.

With that said though and with the evidence and chronicling of all those events, are athletes role models or the right symbols? I leave that for you to answer.

role-models-300x187

This blog will serve though as a reminder to all aspiring, current and even retired athletes that whether you are running, jumping, bowling, batting, swimming or riding, you are under constant watch and here are some things you should remember…

  1. Your sport is your work, and when you are at work, you should conduct yourselves in an appropriate manner
  2. When you are at work, you must consider your work colleagues and how your work may impact on them
  3. You are what you text, tweet, post on Facebook, YouTube or any other social media space
  4. Even in off-season you are still the star and so your conduct should still be in keeping with good standards
  5. During this time sit with an expert who can guide you on how to communicate in the most effective and efficient way
  6. Your country must come first. It is really where you got your start
  7. Align yourselves with the right brands and maximise while you are still active
  8. Create a Foundation somewhere in the middle of your career, it will become a great way to give back
  9. Sign autographs once in a while
  10. Do not ingest any substances you cannot declare

Leigh Steinberg in a column in 2012 wrote – professional sports is only a gateway for the few. But when Heavyweight Boxing Champion Lennox Lewis said on a public service announcement that “Real Men Don’t Hit Women” he made a great contribution to young people’s perception of what is embodied in true masculinity. Disaffected teenagers may tune out authority figures–parents, teachers, and commercial messages. A superstar athlete can permeate that perceptual screen to deliver a message of inspiration and hope.

Whether or not you choose to become a role model, you become one.

 

Posted in Branding, Jamaica, Media, Music

Dahlia Harris presents SAME DIFFERENCE

Dahlia

December 9 – Boxing Day (December 26) can be declared Theatre Day in Jamaica. This is when the season officially opens. This season, producer, actor, director, Dahlia Harris is presenting SAME DIFFERENCE.

In between writing, rehearsing and doing a million other things, I managed to pin her down. Yes, believe me…
Carole: How did you come up with that name? 
Dahlia: I like to play around with familiar sayings.  We often use words and phrases but do we stop to think about what they really mean? I’ve heard SAME DIFFERENCE so many times and when I thought about what I wanted to explore in the show, I felt it adequately represented the idea both conceptually and contextually.
CB: Who are the main players in the play? 
DH: In SAME DIFFERENCE the Goodmans have just moved into their lavish Chancery Hall dwelling after years of hard work and strategising.   It’s a fresh start for Buster (Volier Johnson) while for his beautiful young wife Liv (Maylynne Lowe), it’s the final step up the long ladder of social eminence.
Deon Silvera Deon Silvera
As they try to finally cement their place in society, a major obstacle presents itself in the form of their overly friendly neighbours the Barrs.   Obviously wealthy, though we’re never sure how, Minnie Barr (Deon Silvera) is as bad at parenting her children – Candy (Shantol Jackson) and Ivor (Desmond Dennis) – as she is at respecting boundaries.  When her tastes for the loud and vulgar clash constantly with the Goodmans’ desire for the quiet and refined, it is clear that someone has to be sent packing.
Maylynne Lowe Maylynne Lowe
Secrets are revealed, old wounds are opened… as both families unleash a battle of epic proportions to be the last neighbour standing.  In the end,  what they find is that they have more in common than they dared to realise.
VJ Volier Johnson 
CB: Describe the theme of the play
DH: Jamaica has always been class-conscious but recently there has been more active debate about the implications of classism and how it affects individuals in our society.  As a nation our motto offers that the essence of who we are rests in our ability to mold diverse backgrounds into a collective identity.  Why then should social class be exempted from this process?  SAME DIFFERENCE explores the concept that despite our differences at the core of it, as Jamaicans and more importantly as human, we are all the same.
CB: What should patrons expect?
DH: Since debuting JUDGEMENT in 2010, DMH Productions has earned the reputation of staging theatrical productions that are not only extremely entertaining but are always powerfully compelling.  SAME DIFFERENCE brings as much laughter as it offers intrigue providing an experience for theatre lovers that lasts way beyond what happens on stage.  Tickets are $1,500 with a special rate of $1,200 for groups of 10 or more.

 

CB: Give us a schedule of the run for the first three months:

DH: The show has an initial run at the Karram Speid Auditorium, Merl Grove High School from December 26-28 and then from Jan 1-3.

CB: How have rehearsals been?
DH: It’s always a great indication when the actors in a show are as entertained by the product as we expect audiences to be.  Johnson readily imparts his knowledge from years of experience on stage, Silvera brings tons of energy, Lowe is super focused while Jackson and Dennis are youthfully exuberant.  It’s hard work but we make it fun.  Individually they bring so much life to each character while together they transform the story from paper to such impressive realism.
CB: Give us a typical time at rehearsal:
DH: We always start with discussion about character, relationships, what is it that we really want to say to our audience.  We do this by looking at the script on a whole and then narrowing it down to the specific scene we’ll be working on for that rehearsal.  It’s important that everyone understands and keeps focused on what we are aiming to achieve.  We then break it down line by line, first looking at how we can say what we want through words and then without the words…because theatre is a visual medium as well.  The story comes first so laughter is organic.  If its not funny we don’t try to fake it.
CB: How do you think this will match up to your last three plays?
DH: I see each play as a different project otherwise the process becomes overwhelming.  I go for a great story.  That always works.  I expect that this will continue in the tradition of excellent theatre.
CB: How difficult was it to get space to host?
DH: There are no spaces.  I had to make a decision to go with this venue out of respect for my patrons and the need to maintain continuity.  The continuation of the show is right now in limbo at best as I am still trying to secure a permanent space
CB: What’s next for Dahlia? Dahlia Harris
DH: I want to expand my film and television work.  I also am excited about radio drama.  My vision is to impact audiences through as many media as possible.
ABOUT DAHLIA: Dahlia has been a sports/news/TV host for 20+ years and in between that she directs, produces, acts, sings and dances. Her accomplishments are too numerous to mention here, however her work in the cultural and creative industries has taken shape. Dahlia is quite the academic and is currently pursuing a Masters in Communication Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona, having already done post and undergraduate work in English. Producing and hosting her own television show is a long-time dream.
Posted in Advertising, Branding, Leadership, Management, Media, Sport, Track and Field

An economic model for sport in Jamaica?

KINGSTON, March 22 – Jamaica’s sport industry really deserves better management; one which focuses on a commercial model which can turn the economic wheels and do what is required. Any industry/sector which has a good-working economic model can do a few things
• Provide employment
• Generate wealth for individuals and organisations
• Provide a glorious opportunity for exposure for goods and services
• Be a facilitator for the development of content worthy of international consumption
• If invested properly, be a source for infrastructure development

Historically, Jamaica’s sport prowess began in 1948 at the Summer Olympic Games in London and since then the world has watched us dominate in a variety of areas on and off the field. The most outstanding being in track and field, football (soccer), basketball, boxing, netball, cricket, swimming and to a lesser extent volleyball, hockey and badminton. David Weller’s medal in cycling at the 1980 Summer Olympics is a standout.
Not many countries Jamaica’s size has affected and impacted on the rest of the world, the way the island has and I would recommend that there must be a group of visionaries who could steer the sport industry in a way that the island’s economic woes start gliding up towards a massive success story.

The inspiration behind this article is how the Inter Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) continues to mishandle the Boys and Girls Championships in a way that borders on a misfortune. The fact that they are able to attract massive sponsorship from two or more of Jamaica’s organisations (LIME and Grace) is an indication of the value of the product. However the management of related events cannot be relegated to the 2.8 million in Jamaica and the additional figure in the Diaspora, but be imposed on an international audience which demands Jamaican content.

The exposure thus far would assume an exposure to 5.6 million, but that breakdown is accustomed to this product, what of the rest of the world. Events of the CHAMPS nature have so many money making components which can be explored, exploited and maximised to earn so much more money that it is time that those opportunities be explored.

Here are some areas of value
• Ticketing
• Media broadcast
• Merchandising
• Social media
• Satellite venues

Let’s focus on ticketing for a moment and consider, in addition to the National Stadium, three other locations across Jamaica. Events management units in Jamaica with the calibre of Main Events could replicate the vibe at Champs to attract a fair sized crowd, who would otherwise enjoy watching live broadcast of the event over the five days. The sponsors could benefit too from the showcase of products and services at said locations – getting value for money. Also with additional resources the broadcast house could capitalise on additional viewers by offering interactive also on locations. The technical equipment is available.

The NFL, NBA are franchises which make up to 20 per cent of their earnings from media broadcast according to A.T. Kearney which follows a particular model, I would suggest that can be fashioned to suit Jamaica. And in additional to ticketing could account to up to 40 per cent of the earnings. What those franchises have been able to do is creating an entertaining experience for fans. Satellite venues have been tried and proven successfully and maybe what Grace and LIME can consider for 2016 is to do road shows up to a month before CHAMPS to bring awareness to the communities close to where the satellite venues would be located. Those I
would suggest would be in town centres where there is a mass appeal. So many roads shows have taken place and I would have hoped the companies’ research units would have access to that information to support this idea/ideal.

The fact is, while there is a call for a new stadium, the CHAMPS event is one of a few events which maximises the venue’s use and not sufficient enough for that type of investment at the moment. I was a witness to satellite venues at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, England in 2002, when as part of a touring group, we had mostly tickets to netball, but we were happy to learn we could watch other events from a park nearby. Big screens were retrofitted with a template for crawls and spot advertisements so no one lost.
Social Media reach is now of tremendous value and the reach (multiplier) effect can provide useful information as to where your audience is. The analytics tool is also worthy of investment. Imagine getting Chris Gayle, Usain Bolt and Cedella Marley to tweet each day about #Champs2015 – together they reach up to 7 million together based on follower numbers, but reach, mentions and retweets add up to at least fives the amount. A Social Media expert team should be considered to explore those options.

The merchandising opportunity is underutilised and while the top schools use CHAMPS as a way to reach their market; Jamaica’s brand is not figured here. In the Boys category the top three, Jamaica College, Kingston College and Calabar have clear lines to reach their markets, and I would imagine the co-ed schools e.g. St. Jago; however, it is ultimately Jamaica that is on show so the discerning fan would want to wear something Jamaican. I support the use of research to fine tune already available information to inform the ISSA group of these opportunities for a greater reach of this event called CHAMPS.

Jamaicans are quick to boast that it may be the biggest high school meet anywhere in the world and maybe it is, but that is a purely emotional declaration; because until we are able to clearly see the streams of income and the impact it has on earnings for a variety of people, then we are back to square one.

The ISSA model determines now that the Principals are in charge and that game has left them and an agency with the facility of an IMG can be formed here in Jamaica to manage an event of this kind and more. What that does too, is see the event from a totally different perspective with clear(er) objectives and outcomes. How the money is distributed can be managed by efficient and workable software. We got to start trusting each other to make the best decisions for everybody’s interest.

Also with all that money floating around, the top three schools in both categories should receive cash prizes to replenish the monies spent to prepare for the event. For me personally, CHAMPS is starting to look better from the TV screen and after 35 years of watching my first CHAMPS live, I am happy relaxing with a crew over drinks and food with the access to replay and more. But I know those fans who want to still watch it live. The event should be a positive experience either way.

From all indication, CHAMPS 2015 will be close and want to wish the schools and their teams, best wishes. March 24 -28 will be a remarkable set of days for Jamaica’s track and field and as the country prepares for Beijing in 2015 and Brazil in 2016, the future is indeed very promising.

Posted in Branding, Media, Music, Reggae, Sport

Film Festivals – Benefits to cities worldwide

KINGSTON – Jamaica’s history with Film Festivals dates back to 1999 when Island Girl Productions, lead by Sheryl Lee Ralph developed, conceptualized and executed the Jamerican Film Festival. This event was always hosted in Montego and from the early days had partnership from the Jamaica Tourist Board and JAMPRO.

For at least five decades, film festivals have become popular worldwide establishing a decent reputation for professionals in the film industry, but generating varying interest from curious tourists and locals who are keen on learning more of a city’s/country’s culture.

One of the earliest film festivals though is the Venice Film Festival in Italy which began in 1932 and is the longest running festival. It is held in the last quarter each year http://www.labiennale.org/en/cinema/
The benefits to Venice are enormous and only this year two hotels in the vicinity of where the Festival is held is seeking US$380 million to renovate two of its earliest properties in the city for the 2015 renewal. It was reported that actor, Errol Flynn and Winston Churchill stayed at the Excelsior, one of the properties listed and that the very first festival was held on its terrace 82 years ago. That information is on the Festival’s website and is promoted as such.

The other massive Festivals are Cannes, Toronto, Sundance and Berlin. Berlin has been reported to have the biggest crowd and by that has been declared the largest. A study has indicated that there are 3,000 active film festivals worldwide – all of which have been held in the last 24 months.

BENEFITS TO A CITY

Sundance, held in Park City, Utah reported that the Sundance Institute brings US$86.4 million – figures from a University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. The Festival is believed to have supported 1,434 jobs and generated US$65.1 million of media exposure. Over 45,000 people were in attendance and the report shows that more than 65 per cent of that number traveled from outside of Utah.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) began back in 1976 – same year Montreal hosted the Summer Olympic Games; it is now in the top five festivals and is reporting earnings of up to US$189 million for the 10-day festival and has attracted an additional 150,000 visitors to the city. TIFF can be seen at http://www.tiff.net

This year the Equalizer and No Good Deed with Denzel Washington and Idris Elba respectively were just two of the feature films screened at TIFF

OPPORTUNITIES FOR KINGSTON

Kingston has 2,000 rooms in hotels along with some additional ones in villas and homes. While not too hard to fill, the energy and focus on the entertainment capital of the Caribbean can be enhanced by adding another product for the city. Already packed with numerous cultural activities to include live music, night clubs, great restaurants, sports, theatre, beach parties, hiking, running/jogging/walking for that grouping and the historical sites to include Devon House, Bob Marley Museum, Trench Town and Port Royal – A film festival is all Kingston needs to make the city complete.

Reggae Month, Kingstoon, Kingston on the Edge; Jamaica International Film Festival, Kingston City Run and the numerous 5Ks are good for the product package of the season. And we will not forget the number of famous churches in the city. If you consider the Hellshire and Fort Clarence experiences urban enough, then a trip there is also part of the mix. Three top-rated sport bars connected to icons – Courtney Walsh, Chris Gayle and Usain Bolt are strategically positioned in the city.

The use and display of cultural spaces in the city will have to be managed in an efficient way and what exists now with the varying access to use of those spaces will have to be streamlined. Kingston deserves a Film Festival and should be supported by the businesses and people in Kingston and the wider Jamaica.

CREATIVE OUTPUT

While the city clamours for a Film Festival what is also necessary is films, documentaries and TV series to be shown from the local industry along with regional and international inputs. Jamaica has largely been a location for filming, but with intermittent development of film products over the last few decades, the industry requires input from investors to support the creation of scripts worthy for screen to be shown at the Jamaica Film Festival.

A call for film will be announced in a few weeks and from there it is “The Show must Go on” approach. The Film Commission has sought the advice of industry folks at home and abroad and the idea is generally accepted; but like with all so-called intangible outputs, the financial support/investment/partnership seems slow in coming.

INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITY

Jamaica’s brand has largely been seen as connected to the sand, sea, sun phenomena and with all those options created in a few destinations, the competitive advantage must emerge. The cultural capital of Jamaica is underestimated by its own and somehow the packaging and development have been less than impressive. The investors in the society can break away from the norm and partner with the creators to produce at least one feature film a year, a few documentaries and other stories in the screen and/or TV formats.

The opportunity looms and with just under 250 days to go – Kingston has the opportunity to light up the space and be the focus on this region and the world. Also on that time (summer) the track and field team will be in Beijing; the netball team will go for Gold in the World Championship and Rio will be in full sight. That is a lot to promote and throw in a film or few – that’s ideal.

Let’s make this happen and support the “Script to Screen” for 2015 – Jamaica Film Festival, Kingston, July 7 – 11 in 2015.

Lights! Camera! Action!