By Melton Williams
The Jamaica football programme received a major boost, this time around from corporate giants Red Stripe who has pumped in $100 million as the exclusive alcohol sponsor for the 2010 World Cup qualifier campaign. The campaign is dubbed 'Back To Africa.'
The contract which was signed this week will see Red Stripe Beer paying $100 million over the next three years based on the success of the team during the qualifiers. In addition, the brand will stage exhibition games between the national senior team and international teams in conjunction with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).
The deal represents the biggest sponsorship package to the football programme by Red Stripe. On the 'Road to France' campaign, the company had sponsored goalkeeper Aaron Lawrence and added to that a $75 million injection into the programme during the 'Red Stripe Journey to Germany, Buy A Beer For the Boys' campaign.
In addition to the sponsorship, the company, which has rebranded its title under the new slogan 'Live Red' will also turn its attention to patrons at the National Stadium in an attempt to bring the excitement back to the game. From entrance to exit, pre-game to half-time show, Red Stripe beer will be a part of the fan's experience.
Wayne Lawrence, marketing director at Red Stripe, said that the support further shows his company's commitment to develop the football programme.
He said: "We are passionate about football and as the number one fan we have been faithful in our commitment over the years to the development of Jamaica's football programs. By involving ourselves from the beginning of this journey, we 'Don't Just Live, we Live Red.' We will bring the passion and pride back to the World Cup campaign. Part of living red is reminding Jamaicans that creating and inspiring passion in everything that we do is important."
According to Carlo Redwood, marketing manager for Red Stripe, "our Live Red events are just an indication of what's in store for the stadium. We know that our consumers are vitalized by dynamite entertainment, invigorated by a thrilling competition and feel satisfaction when our boyz win. Our involvement further embodies that Living Red means, it's about ambition, determination, courage, optimism and zeal, all qualities that the Reggae Boyz need to get them to Africa in 2010 and we will be there to see it."
Crenston Boxhill, president of the JFF, believes that the involvement of Red Stripe comes at a good time.
Boxhill said: "The Red Stripe sponsorship is a major boost for the Federation and the national programme and comes at the perfect time. The Federation is particularly excited about the high energy approach being taken by Red Stripe in building fan participation and support for the 'Back To Africa Campaign'. With this sponsorship all stakeholders in the programme can expect an exciting and positive period for football."
He further added that "it continues a strong partnership that has spanned the previous World Cup qualifications, the Red Stripe Champions Cup and the Red Stripe Light Beach football competition."