Athletics

A match made in heaven

Adidas’ sponsorship of Racers Grand Prix a no-brainer – Seegobin

BY SHERDON COWAN Observer staff reporter cowans@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, May 12, 2019

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When Cubie Seegobin was asked to approach Adidas to take over the reins as title sponsor of Racers Grand Prix following JN Bank's withdrawal, there was no hesitation.

Seegobin pointed out that the decision to pursue the deal for the June 8 meet was made easy given the sturdiness of the long-standing relationship between Adidas and Racers Track Club, and by extension, Jamaica.

The top agent's involvement with Adidas — which is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe and the second largest in the world after Nike — comes by way of his affiliation with various athletes, including Jamaica's Yohan Blake.

“Adidas has been involved with Jamaica from the beginning, Herb McKenley and Arthur Wint wore Adidas, coach [Glen] Mills has been with Adidas forever.

“I don't work for Adidas, but because of my involvement I am able to sit in a boardroom and talk to them about sponsorships in Jamaica.

“So when we went to Adidas and started the Racers Grand Prix we signed off as an official partner and we recently signed a new contract for the next three years with Adidas. But when our title sponsor did not renew, coach [Mills] asked me to go back to Adidas, and within five minutes, they said no problem we will be glad to come on as title sponsor,” he said.

Seegobin also cited the meet's significant growth and reputation to attract some of the world's best athletes since its inception in 2016, as well as a strong belief in the strength of the organisation and management of the event, as another major component that reeled Adidas in.

The Racers Grand Prix, with Usain Bolt as the drawing card, has attracted a host of stars and thousands of fans to Kingston over the years and has rivalled many World Challenge or Diamond League events on the international track and field calendar.

Athletes such as American Carmelita Jeter, world record holders Wayde van Niekerk (400m) of South Africa, David Rudisha (800m) of Kenya, along with Great Britain's distance great Mo Farah, were among those to grace National Stadium in the past.

And even with a stellar line-up of 130 athletes from 15 countries already in place for this year's fourth staging at National Stadium, a host of other top athletes are still waiting in the wings to be a part of the three-hour showpiece with 19 events to be contested.

“The reason this happened is because our meet has become one of the most premier meets in the world, not in Jamaica but the world. Everybody wants to now come to Jamaica to be in the Racers Grand Prix, and our wait list includes Olympic champions and World champions.

“So on the level of what this meet has become to us is so important and I think that is the reason why we have an Adidas who would want to be involved... because they know the quality of the meet that we put on,” Seegobin reasoned.

Multiple Olympic and World champion Shelly-Ann Fraser Pryce and Commonwealth Games discus champion Fedrick Dacres headline a number of Jamaican stars that will be in action ahead of the National Trials to select the team to the IAAF World Championship in Doha, Qatar in September.

Bahamian Olympic gold medallist Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Trinidad and Tobago's Kelly-Ann Baptiste and Michelle-Lee Ahye are among the overseas confirmations so far, along with Grenada's Olympic champion Kirani James.

Great Britain's Zharnel Hughes and Miguel Francis and Americans Phyllis Francis, Trayvon Bromell, Mason Finley and Fred Kerley are also in the line-up.

Seegobin also made reference to another sponsor, Richard Mille, the Swiss/French watchmaker, who has been with the Racers Grand Prix for the past three years. Richard Mille is also a contributor to Yohan Blake's YB Afraid Foundation.

“I said to him [Mille] why are you involved in the Racers meet? And he said to me 'Cubie, it's a night out for my (YB Afraid Foundation) kids in Jamaica'. If you come to the meet you see a block of kids sitting with Richard Mille t-shirts on and stuff, it's a night out for them to come from homes in these communities, all-expenses paid to come and see these athletes run,” he ended.

Online tickets for the Racers Adidas Grand Prix, which has been voted the most outstanding one-day meet in the region, went on sale on Thursday, with physical tickets set to go on sale on June 3. Grandstand finish line tickets are $5,000, with $2,500 for the rest of the grandstand, while bleachers tickets are $500.


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