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Grange says Jamaica should think about a sport niche market

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sport Minister Olivia Grange has said that Jamaica could consider carving out a niche market in relation to the sports goods industry comprising of equipment, accessories, and apparel.

Giving the keynote address at a two-day Inter-Regional Conference on the Strategic Use of Intellectual Property in Sport, which opened in Kingston yesterday, Grange said Jamaica could also consider marketing itself as a sport destination similar to what currently obtains in Dubai.

“Although the strength of the Jamaican brand is unquestionable, the country has not developed and executed strategies to ensure that it maximises the investment made over a century in developing the unique Jamaican sport brand which had its roots and saw success as far back as in the 1890s,” Grange said.

She said a conference on intellectual property in sport is an opportune time for discussions on sport and Brand Jamaica, as there was no doubt that sport is an important contributor to the success of the national brand.

“Sport plays a significant role in Jamaica's position as a global brand. When we think of Jamaica we think of the components of uniqueness, competitiveness, the level of worldwide awareness of our music, our sport, combined with our physical location and its attributes,” the sport minister said.

“Jamaica throughout its growth as a nation, has always excelled on the world stage in many sporting disciplines; whether it is netball, cricket, athletics, boxing, swimming, golf, tennis, table tennis, winter sport such as bobsledding, dog sledding and ski cross. Our blind cricketers, paralympians, special Olympians have had phenomenal successes on the world stage.

“Now we are being guided by the National Sport Policy, which promotes the integration of sport in the national economy with the creation of globally competitive products and services and the enhanced earnings of our athletes-associated industries.”

Grange said the conference was just one of the activities being undertaken by her ministry to ensure that the required outcomes are achieved and that the strategies going forward required the partnership of everyone. It has to be a joint effort.

She said that everyone knew that brand building requires deliberate, strategic and skilful application of actions that create a desired perception in people's mind.

The minister said the branding and image of a country is the successful conveyance of this image to its exports, and is just as important as what is actually produced and sold by the country, and that a priority of the Sport Policy is to enhance and leverage the sport component of Brand Jamaica.

Grange encouraged coaches, administrators and others involved in activities related to sport to look at how to brand and further commercialise their assets.

She said the private sector should understand the importance of seeing beyond the obvious and investing in the potential — seeing it through to maturity.

“Jamaican sport is built on integrity, accountability, transparency and excellence, among other principles. We should capitalise on these principles by protecting the intellectual property rights associated with our athletes and sporting institutions. All sport programmes must be athlete-centred,” she said.

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