Western News

'Diversify' - St James PC urged to attract new users to sports complex

Thursday, September 20, 2012    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — FORMER mayor of Montego Bay, Charles Sinclair has suggested that the St James Parish Council identify ways to maximise earnings from the Montego Bay Sports Complex.

It is not enough, he insisted in an interview with the Observer West earlier this week, to depend on the few users of the facility in order to make money.

Sinclair, who has offered to mediate between the principals of Red Stripe Premier League Club Montego Bay United (MBU) and the St James Parish Council in their ongoing dispute over user fees for the complex, said the operators must come up with innovative ways to ensure the facility does not become a white elephant.

"The parish council should find ways of increasing use of the facility, raise more money and thus this would not necessitate the high fees that are being charged right now," he said.

Marketing the stadium to other users as well as selling "branding rights", he said, would "offset the costs of the upkeep of the facility and lower the costs to potential users".

Sinclair, the current councillor for the Flankers Division, said that in addition to the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) using the complex for the opening games in the schoolboys' football competition and the finals of the daCosta Cup, more can be done.

"I would suggest that they talk to ISSA about hosting (daCosta Cup) Inter-zone games, quarter-final games and the finals of the Ben Francis KO as well," Sinclair said.

At the same time, he said the venue can be priced according to "different variations", such as closing down sections of the stands depending on the game, locking off some of the bathrooms and utilising the large parking lot.

If MBU only has an average of 600 paying spectators per home game, Sinclair suggested that maybe they won't need the entire grandstand which seats over 3,000.

"Maybe they need to close off the top section and even if they need a place for their VIP guests, cordon off a section in the middle and that would help to cut down the cost of cleaning up afterwards," he noted.

The parish council, Sinclair said, can also invoke no-parking rules around the stadium on match days and ensure that patrons pay to use the parking lot, which is another way to get money into their coffers.

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